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Life & Lyrics-”We Take Care of Our Own”

Published on February 19, 2013, by in LeeLee Blogs.

Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea

Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own

The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone

There ain’t no help

The cavalry stayed home

 

We Take Care of Our Own

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

 

It’s mid February and I’m sitting in a ski lodge in Maine.  My husband is skiing down Black Diamonds (God Help Him!) and my three sons are enjoying a ski school program at Sunday River Ski Resort.

The ambiance is spectacular especially since I’m a huge fan of the cold weather and mountains.  Although I have a high tolerance for frigid temperatures as well as a love for a hot fire and hot chocolate, I don’t ski.  And at this point in my life, I really don’t have a desire to learn how to either.  So in the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the view, the fire pit, and the hot chocolate.  Plus I’m trying to get as much writing in as I possibly can during this February break from reality.   Writing is my therapy and my favored substitution in lieu of a thrill ride down a Black Diamond mountain.

Sunday River Bethel, Maine

Sunday River
Newry, Maine

 

Since this break from reality comes thanks to America’s observance of President’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate if I found a Springsteen tune with a political edge for my weekly post.  Yes, I’ve finally decided to cross the line with my essays for Lee Lee’s Room. I’m choosing a Bruce tune with a political message. We Take Care of Our Own.

My fellow Americans, I must disclose that I’m simply just expressing my opinion in this post.  I am not in any way trying to launch a political debate or expecting anyone to agree with my thoughts. This essay is just part of my creative process thanks to my inspiration…Bruce Springsteen.

Personally, I love the song We Take Care of Our Own.  I love its tempo, lyrics, and the message/questions it brings forth.

Where’s the promise from sea to shining sea

Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own

 

American Flag

Do we take care of our own?

Here’s how Bruce answered that question in a video presentation at the Grammy Awards MusiCares reception:

“I don’t think so a lot of the times.”

Of course, I couldn’t agree more with his response.  I believe the promise across America… from sea to shining sea and wherever this flag is flown… is broken.

Bruce continues with:

“My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.”
(From A Thom Zimny Film presented at MusiCares 2013)

Without a doubt, the distance is several miles long and continues to grow to an even greater distance.  I often wonder if the American dream is even attainable anymore.  The idea that all Americans can have happy and successful lives if they work hard seems so out of reach.

In We Take Care of Our Own, Bruce tackles the feelings and frustrations of many Americans.  I’m extremely frustrated and I think greed and selfishness have taken over this country.  The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity are not available for every American.  That’s the harsh and blunt American reality.

The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone

There ain’t no help

The cavalry stayed home

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Bruce is referring to Hurricane Katrina. There wasn’t any help in New Orleans and the cavalry wasn’t coming.  It’s another perfect example of frustration, a broken promise, and not taking care of our own! Why is it that America can bomb a country on the other side of the planet in just a few hours or send in a team of elite snipers to kill our #1 enemy in a matter of minutes yet we can’t send in the very same military to save a drowning city and our own people on time???? It’s so wrong and so sad! It certainly doesn’t make you feel like We Take Care of Our Own… we definitely didn’t take care of our own in New Orleans in August of 2005…

There ain’t no help… The cavalry stayed home.

Whenever I listen to the story Bruce tells and the questions Bruce poses in We Take Care of Our Own, I can’t help but think of an incredible television episode from HBO’s “Newsroom”.  The opening dialogue/question in the show… Is America still the greatest country? And the rant that follows is mind blowing.  It’s the answer that accurately assesses the state of these United States. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin nailed it in my opinion. He’s a ridiculously talented writer.  I’m jealous.

It’s no surprise he has won both an Academy Award (Social Network) and an Emmy Award (The West Wing) for his amazing talent. And not to be forgotten, the classic line he penned in a “Few Good Men”…You can’t handle the truth!  That’s truly one of the best lines in modern movie history.

Anyway, getting past the screenwriting and back to the message in both We Take Care of Our Own and the episode of “Newsroom”… they target the same harsh American realities.

Like Bruce, Sorkin isn’t afraid to push the envelope and ask…  is America still the greatest country? Here’s part of his magnificent screenwriting from the episode:

“Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is that there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies….

So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about? Yosemite?

We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons; we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn’t belittle it; it didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one—America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”
Newsroom- HBO
Aaron Sorkin- Creator/Writer

Once again, Bruce is right…The road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone in America.

Do we take care of our own? No

Are we still the greatest country? No

Let’s rise up and do something about it Wherever this flag is flown

flag

XO,

LeeLee

 

 

 

 

One Response

  1. Julia

    You go girl!