“Rain on the Scarecrow” by John Mellencamp (1985)

25 10 2008

There are some artists who, to me, embody everything that is good about America.  Off the top of my head, that list includes musicians like Woody Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, Sr., Paul Simon, and Billy Joel, to name a few.  Their music is absolutely worth exploring.  Much of it should be required as part of our educations.

John Mellencamp is another of these artists.  His music is urgent, and his words and stories are honest and grounded in reality.  This is one of my favorite tracks of his, taken from the fantastic “Scarecrow” album.  Do you want to know what it’s like to make it in America’s heartland?  Do you want to FEEL what it’s like?  Slap on a Mellencamp record and experience it for yourself.

When I say that an artist embodies all that is good about America, that also includes the courage and integrity to point out the bad as well.  We have that right to stand up and speak truth to power, to acknowledge when we’ve made a mistake, and take responsibility for it.  And to change it if we can.  A real American doesn’t say, “My country, right or wrong.”  A real American says, “My country, let’s right the wrongs.”

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