|Actually, this land was not made for you and me.|
And so it came to pass in the Year of our Lord 1940 that one Woody Guthrie penned the words, This land is my land, this land is your land.
In time we incorporated his tune -- and, more importantly, its lyrics -- into our compilation of songs we sing on July 4 each year.
What we fail to realize is the words to Guthrie's song smack of communism. That is, all land is held in common. "This land belongs to you and me!"
Actually, it doesn't. This land is my land. That land is your land.
Ten years later Pat Boone penned another song with lyrics that contrasted with those of Guthrie.
"This land is mine. God gave this land to me," he wrote.
Boone's song was written about Israel and has since become that nation's de facto national anthem.
In essence, Guthrie's song encourages us to surrender our property rights while Boone's lyrics affirm the rights of Iraelis to a specific piece of turf.
People groups define their identity by the real estate upon which they abide. To surrender one's property rights is to surrender one's cultural identity.
• National sovereignty
The debate over Israel's right to occupy that specific land mass misses the point. The point is that nature has so endowed us with a sense of ownership that some are willing to fight and die, if need be, over a parking space. On a grander scale, history is the tale of humanity warring over turf. Our sense of property rights is innately tied to our tribal instincts. Hence the blood shed in Ukraine.
In short, to surrender our land is to surrender our identity (and visa verse). Likewise, to protect our property rights is to protect our identity.
And so it came to pass in the Year of our Lord, 1895 that Katharine Lee Bates wrote these words:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!*
That mass of land that exists between shining seas is our land, not your land.
• Access denied
The displacement of white Americans transcends Mexicans hopping over a fence or wading across the Rio Grande.
Those who paid attention may have noticed that that a recurring theme of the 2012 Democratic National Convention included the word access. The party drilled home the idea that many Americans are being denied access to everything from contraceptives to public services. Their remedies include extracting wealth from the privileged class and redistributing it to the underprivileged. The remedies also include forcing every outpost of white communities to inject non-white residents in their midst. The excuse is to allow non-whites to have access to privileged community services.
Guthrie's song could be paraphrased to read, "This neighborhood belongs to you and me," "This contraceptive belongs to you and me," or "This cash belongs to you and me."
As absurd and surreal as it may sound, the theme is gaining steam.
A new organization was founded in Binghamton, New York called Equal Access to Opportunities for People of Color and uses the acronym EATOPOC. Note the racial spin.
The organizer claims that people of color feel they are being held back from economic advancement by discrimination. The discriminators, of course, are white by default.
It is a recurring theme that leverages racism to enact public policies that transfer wealth from the privileged class (bourgeoisie) to the underprivileged class (proletariat). It is also an affront to our cultural identity.
*The original lyrics ended with Till nobler men keep once again Thy whiter jubilee! They were changed to And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea in 1904.
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