Glenn Beck: Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” Anti-American

Glenn Beck sure knows how to pick em!  Beck targeted Bruce Springsteen’s unofficial American anthem “Born In The U.S.A.” on Thursday’s broadcast of his radio show, calling it “ant-American.” 

“Born In The U.S.A” has been misinterpreted by Republicans repeatedly.  The most famous case of this is when former President Ronald Reagan tried to use the song in his 1984 re-election campaign.  Operating for many as an unofficial American anthem, the song is about a Vietnam Veteran who returns from the war to find the “American Dream” out of reach.

“Born In The U.S.A.” is eerily relevant today so it’s handy that Glenn Beck brought the song and its meaning back into our national discourse. As an “anti-anthem” “Born In The U.S.A.” illuminates an America that is once again slipping out of reach of many Americans who believed that if they worked hard, they could support their families, own a home, and afford health insurance. Now they watch as banks give record bonuses to their employees after their tax payer dollars were used to prevent the banks’ failures. They watch as a tone deaf Congress fails again and again to pass legislation that will improve their lives–bankruptcy reform, financial regulation, a meaningful mortgage re-modification program, student loan legislation and health care and insurance reform. Millions of Americans are losing their homes and their jobs and “Born In The U.S.A” is their anthem. It’s about an America that they love, but an America that is failing them thanks to missed opportunities and screwed up priorities. Americans are America’s greatest asset–not Goldman Sachs.

As Stephen Webster points out on The Raw Story: “The real reason Beck is attacking someone with far more talent is because Springsteen has endorsed a number of Democrats, including President Obama. Springsteen even put on a show at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He did the same for Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) near the end of the 2004 presidential campaign.”

At least Glenn Beck understands that Springsteen is looking at his country with a critical eye–what he’s ignoring is the fact that “Born In The U,S.A.” is a song about truth–a song about loving one’s country and being disappointed when it fails its own citizens. To be a great country, we cannot turn a blind eye to its problems. We can’t afford to ignore the message Springsteen gives us in “Born In The U.S.A” as more American veterans prepare to return from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The America they are returning to is a country with high unemployment and few options. If we’re not careful, it’ll be the early 80s all over again. What do you think about Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.?” 

Audio clip of Beck available at Media Matters.

Born In The U.S.A lyrics

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

Born in the u.s.a., I was born in the u.s.a.
I was born in the u.s.a., born in the u.s.a.

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

Born in the U.S.A…

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

I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

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 aint got nowhere to go

Born in the u.s.a., I was born in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., I’m a long gone daddy in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., born in the u.s.a.
Born in the u.s.a., I’m a cool rocking daddy in the u.s.a.

More on Glenn Beck from Care2:

Image courtesy of MofoPolitics


donald baumgartner

I thought this man {?} was GONE, well, i know he is GONE, bu oh well, you know what i meant!!

Barbara DeFratis
Barbara DeFratis5 years ago

As a person who was serving in the U.S. Army Reserve at the time that 'Born In The U.S.A.' was released I can honestly say that nobody played the songs from that album as many times as we did. I remember serving in a PsyOp loudspeakers section and whenever we had a chance to crank up some tunes, we always started and ended with--The Boss's--Born In The U.S.A. song and Glori Days, if there were others, then I forgot them, but those are the 2 that we played the most!

Andy T.
Andy T7 years ago

There is a little known English singer called Edgar Broughton. He wrote a song during the Vietnam War called "American Soldier Boy". That had evocative lyrics too. Neither Springsteen or Broughton were voicing anti American views. They were voicing opinions on those stupid enough to promote an unjust war.
Sounds kind of familiar today really so Glen, you really are a prat but well done for listening.

Michael O.
Michael O7 years ago

It's definitely not a patriotic song, as many people believe, but I wouldn't call it anti-american either. It's a critique of what's wrong with America and what could be improved.

Rose S.
Rose S7 years ago

Hello Glen,

How old is this song???? Is this your first time listening to it? What is the matter with you man? Get a life and stop wasting you time nitpicking. Read a book mentor under-privileged children, watch TV or play golf if you are bored.

Locan Sleeping-Squirrel

Hilarious! It took him this long to listen to the actual words? I can't wait to hear about Charlie Daniels, Long-haired country boy!
How about "Who are you?" I've got the song for him. It's a little number by Frank Zappa with Steve Vi.

johan l.
paul l7 years ago

I read the comments and I must say I am shocked at some of the viscious replies to Mr. Beck.
I thought that you Americans live in a free country with a free press. As long as you do not promote hate speech, you can say what you like (and many people do just that).
But an insecure white fool?
What would this person have said if he was black?
I have always been an admirer of Bruce Springsteen and I am glad you went to the trouble to download the lyrics!

Mary Beth M.
MaryBeth M7 years ago

All I can really say to all this is "do not cast your pearls before swine".

Diana Schneider
Diana Schneider7 years ago

Beck is a kind of thing that likes to promote fear in everyone makes him feel big and Strong. truth is he is a insecure white fool (Quote from Glory) the bible even states Quacks like him would come out of the wood work before the Second coming took place. all any of us have to do is simple- Live a decent life
and live by the ten commandments. as best we can. and acknowledge God that is comfortable to you. talking to him in a car ,walking , flying more then one way to mess up the devil.

Terry B.
Terry B7 years ago

Who cares what this attention-seeking retard thinks (if that verb can even be applied to this brainless blob of lard)?

Get his foul fat face off Care2.