Born in the U.S.A.: Mosque Protestors’ Ironic Anthem

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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The protesters in lower Manhattan have decided to adopt Bruce Springsteen’s anti-war anti-racism anthem as their own.

They’ve got no remaining legal recourse at their disposal, but the protesters opposed to the Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero are taking to the streets of Lower Manhattan to rally against its expansion. (The space has already been used for prayer for nearly a year, and the enlargement would add a book store, gym and pool to the property.)

The hundreds opposed to the Islamic Center came waving American flags, with banners that read “No Mosque, No Way,” “Never Forget 9/11” and “Sharia,” written in blood-red lettering. As they marched, the demonstrators also had musical accompaniment – Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 rock classic, Born in the U.S.A.

The Boss has yet to publicly react, but the rocker has felt it necessary in the past to come out against the use of his song. When Ronald Reagan ran for reelection in 1984, the Gipper hoped to buttress his muscular agenda through the use of the newly released hit. Springsteen, who went on to endorse both John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2004 and 2008, told Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone on December 6, 1984, the following: “But I think there’s a large group of people in this country whose dreams don’t mean that much to [Ronald Reagan], that just get indiscriminately swept aside. I guess my view of America is of a real bighearted country, real compassionate.”

Indeed, the browbeating going on near the proposed Islamic Center may not jibe with the lyrics of the Springsteen hit. A Vietnam veteran featured in the song says the following: “The first kick I took was when I hit the ground/You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much/’Til you spend half your life just covering up.” And then the veteran goes on to note, “I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong/They’re still there, he’s all gone.”

With Born, Springsteen showed he was willing to question a cause presented as a patriotic defense of the United States. So what say you now, Bruce?