Born in the USA: An Examination of the Modern Plight of the White Working Class

Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen

Born in the USA, Bruce SpringsteenMost Americans all know Bruce Springsteen’s biggest hit Born in the U.S.A. This is one of those songs that everybody knows but you probably don’t know the lyrics to. At patriotic events and on the radio most folks mumble the words until they get to the chorus of “Born in the USA!” and we all get that warm fuzzy feeling about being citizens of the “greatest” country in the world.

As is common with American mass media, the people consuming it generally do not even examine the message of what it is they are consuming. This was demonstrated back when the song was originally released and Ronald Reagan decided to attempt to use this song as an anthem for his campaign, not realizing the true point of Springsteen’s lyrics. What was meant to be a ballad of the disenfranchised white working class was draped in the American flag and called patriotic by the very Establishment that the song was written against.

The white blue collar working class in America has always faced a dilemma, both the Establishment Right and the Establishment Left have forsaken them since the beginning of this country. Republicans and Democrats both advance policies that are a slow suicide to the working class through the use of free trade, high taxes, outsourcing of jobs, and using our young men as cannon fodder for international conflicts.

As is the nature of the hard working blue collar, we are the last ones to lose faith in the system. Our base is around the three most important things in the world: Faith, Folk, and Fatherland. While the elites bicker in ivory towers about tax cuts for millionaires and if bringing in millions of Third World immigrants will help their bottom line, the blue collar is more interested in providing for their families and worshipping God. Paying the mortgage and getting their kids braces is more important than comparing the geopolitical implications of invading some backwater Third World country. Without fail however, when the elites make a decision to go to war, the blue collar is the one who stands up to–as they see it–“defend their country.”

With a heavy heart these men and women will leave their families, pick up a rifle, and die for the interests of multinational corporations and the political elite. And when they come home in caskets draped with the American flag or they come back without limbs, the political Establishment has a single crocodile tear go down their cheek as they talk about how the cause these men and women fought for was just, and that if we just throw a few more men into the meat grinder, we can make sure that this recently deceased or disfigured soldier hasn’t died in vain.

While this description fits in the modern context of the constant brushfire wars throughout the Middle East, the war in Vietnam was one of the first wars in the modern context to reflect the total disregard the Establishment has for the average citizens. The environment of Vietnam created a generation of men who felt betrayed by their country, not only for sending them off to die and being forced to fight the war in every single way contrary to actually achieving victory, but when they returned home they faced having salt rubbed in their wounds as the Establishment had sent their jobs overseas while they were in the remote reaches of Southeast Asia. This is the environment of the 1980’s that this song was written in.

The opening to Born in the USA is a frank analysis of the feelings of the white working class in the 1980’s and the present day. The singer emotionally belts out the lyrics with such heartbreak and contempt for the politicians that his barely controlled rage is palpable. When looking at these lyrics can anyone who is a Christian and a member of the working class not have some identity with these words?

Born down in a dead man town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

As our cities fall apart, our people are being demographically displaced, and scholarships or the ability to get a job is denied to white Christians due to affirmative action, the working class is waking up every morning in a dead man’s town. Every day the Establishment kicks us with another blow to our pride and our civilization. Each time the ten commandments are removed from a building, and every time a boatload of Third Worlders arrive on our shores, and every time another farm boy gets blown up in the same Third World nation that the immigrant invaders came from, our people get kicked by our political masters.

The song continues by describing the system of political control the elites use to this day. Through denial of jobs here at home and the influx of millions of immigrants to compete with natural born Americans, the blue collar is Shanghaied into serving in the military. Through ritualistic propaganda and catchy slogans the worker is indoctrinated to believe that serving for the best interests of the big money fat cats is somehow a patriotic duty in the vein of George Washington or Stonewall Jackson. With little choices back at home, white blue collar men enlist en masse in the military in order to secure the increasingly rare benefits package, a steady paycheck, and to fulfill one of the last socially tolerated forms of masculinity.

The protagonist of the song puts his experience of joining the military into the second verse of the song.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

There is obviously no hatred towards the Vietcong that this soldier is being sent off to fight. The military and the System simply puts a gun in his hands and tells him to kill their political opponents. When we look at ourselves and ask why American blood is being shed in these countries can we truly say that we need to be there? Why does a kid from the suburbs or the Irish neighborhoods of Boston have a fight with some Iraqi goat herder who lives in a hut? The answer is evident, there is no reason. If we wanted victory over our opponents we could win it.

White Christian men are the greatest warriors the globe has ever beholden. Our leaders however hobble our troops and make sure that the eternal war is allowed to continue. From one hotspot to the next, from Vietnam to Iraq and one day soon perhaps Syria and Iran, the American military-industrial complex grinds onward. In reality we all know that the goings on in some poor village on the other side of the globe do not merit the blood of our fighting men and don’t actually make us safer here at home. From protecting Afghan poppy fields to seizing the firearms of American citizens going door to door, it is evident that the American soldier has simply become a tool of the very people who shortchange him and his family. Liberty and Freedom are but hollow words in a pledge to a country that no longer exists.

Once the war is over, your friends have been buried, and your psyche has been torn apart, it is then time for a soldier to return home. Once they get home however, their future is bleak at best. Families have been torn apart by the distance and stress of a deployment, houses have been foreclosed on, companies outsource jobs, and the neighborhood you were fighting for is just a little bit worse. The grand myth told to the American soldier is that the government you fought for will take care of you after you risk your life for them. From denying Veterans benefits to not enforcing laws protecting veterans, the Federal government simply uses and abuses their wounded warriors and then simply brings in a fresh crop of new recruits.

While illegal immigrants get tens of billions of dollars of services per year, wounded veterans are forced to live in squalor without their promised benefits due to “budget cuts.” The third verse of Born in the USA tells the story of the soldier returning from losing friends and family in Vietnam. When he comes back to his old job his foreman can only simply tell him “son, if it was up to me…..” The line heard no doubt by thousands of soldiers who have found themselves without their livelihood waiting for them. The Veterans Affairs officer is even more flippant with the soldier. As the protagonist asks for help the VA man cannot give him any assistance and simply says “Son, don’t you understand?” The bureaucrats know they can’t help these boys and seem stunned that the returning soldiers haven’t figured this out yet.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said “Son if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said “Son, don’t you understand “

Broken, downtrodden, and reflecting upon the loss of his brother, the soldier sits in his dying town and simply waits. The song ends with perhaps the most haunting of lines, one that reflects our potential future. There is “nowhere to run.”

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I’m ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go

Although Born in the USA was written decades ago, the message is as honest and accurate now as it was then. As our people and our God are betrayed by the elites, we still sign up to fight in their military and wave the banner of the very nation that is aiming to displace us. Instead of fighting back against our oppressors, it seems that white America continues to repeat as Charles Dickens Oliver Twist famously said “Please sir, I want some more.”

The land of Jefferson and Robert E Lee has been replaced with the land of Lenin and Satan himself. The country that our boys fight and die for defames our God, kills our babies by the millions, allows perversion to be peddled to our children, and systematically aims to drive us out of the country our ancestors shed blood to give us. We need to stop waving the flag of a nation that hates everything that we stand for and love. If you love family, God, guns, your folk, your language, and your customs, then you have no reason to wave the banner of fifty star tyranny. Just like the lonely soldier at the end of Born in the USA, we are quickly coming to a point where there is no longer a place to run.

The age of white flight is over. The era of Christian passiveness needs to end. We no longer can commit ourselves to fighting for this system or ignoring it and hoping it goes away. We need to stand for Christ, our communities, and our folk. There is a place for us to go, and we are not trapped. Our duty is to our God, our tribe, and our traditions. There is no future in this Godless Republic that is for sale to the highest bidder. Fight for a new Homeland for our people and make sure that your children aren’t “Born in the USA”

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