Sometime around 1940, when Woody Guthrie wrote This Land is Your Land, his critics called him a “socialist” and a “communist” because his songs argued for a government that went to bat for the working man.
A government that kept the rich and powerful from gobbling up those in America who do the work of America.
“Left wing, right wing, chicken wing – it’s all the same to me,” Woody said.
Of all the shameful and degrading language from our federal executive branch during the recent shutdown, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said to be worth $700 million, contributed this: He said he didn’t “understand” why federal workers, who are doing their jobs without pay, don’t “take out loans” until the shutdown is over.
Greed and bigotry help build America. It gave us centuries of African enslavement, efforts of genocide directed toward native cultures, child labor, and more recently big tax cuts for Ross and others like him.
I suspect Ross, the current occupant of the White House, and some commentators at Fox would gladly share some chicken wings with poor and working-class Americans – once they’ve eaten all the meat from the bones.
About the time Woody said what he said about chicken wings, Franklin Roosevelt was in his second term in the White House. Among the laws he signed to help those Woody sang about were Social Security, minimum wage, and the recognition of labor unions.
FDR said he “welcomed their hatred” in reference to those who called him a socialist and communists for trying to help families who did the work of America. I can see FDR now looking up from his wheelchair and staring down the arrogant Ross and others like him. He’d probably like to punch him in the nose.
If you want to do something to help families, FDR once said, you’ll have to fight harder than those working to hurt them.
There may well be a reckoning in this country in a couple of years if the Democrats keep the House and take back the Senate and the White House. We will want to wash away the stain of what has happened to us during the last couple of years. Rebirth and renewal.
Left wing, right wing, chicken wing.
Author: Bill Lightle