Political Hay

Freedom and the Battle of 2010

Next chapter in fight for conservative cause unfolds: music and lyrics by Paul McCartney.

By 9.7.10

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At last. Summer ending, autumn looms. The 2010 election is at hand.

Let's rock and roll.

The other week, Sir Paul McCartney of Beatles fame caused a dust-up while visiting the White House. Accepting the Gershwin Award for Popular Song, McCartney made a distinctly un-classy mention of former President George W. Bush and an alleged (if decidedly not true) aversion to books.

But there was another McCartney visit to America that was received with nothing but respect and affection -- this one nine years ago. On October 20, 2001, barely a month after 9/11, McCartney stepped up to the plate to organize "The Concert for New York City." Featuring a veritable platoon of famous musicians including Elton John, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, The Who, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Bon Jovi and on and on. The concert was a benefit for the members and families of the New York police and fire departments as well as other rescuers. The Concert went on even as the NYPD and NYFD were mourning the loss of colleagues and still pulling bodies out of the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

Towards the end of the Concert, McCartney stepped forward, got the huge Madison Square Garden audience clapping rhythmically through their tears and sang a brand new song he had written for the occasion.

It was called Freedom.

Said Sir Paul: "It's about freedom. That's one thing these people don't understand. That's worth fighting for… to me it's a We Shall Overcome... That's sort of how I wrote it. It's like, 'Hey, I've got freedom, I'm an immigrant coming to America, give me your huddled masses.' And that's what it means to me, is, 'Don't mess with my rights, buddy. Because I'm now free.'"

McCartney, liberal that he apparently is, stopped performing the song after the liberation of Iraq. (One might ask why freedom is OK for Paul from Liverpool but not Aziz from Baghdad, but I digress.) The point here: the lyrics that Sir Paul once found so suitable in the aftermath of a vivid attack on freedom and then so unsuitable at a later time and place. Feel free to sing along. Here they are:

This is my right, a right given by God
To live a free life, to live in Freedom

talkin' about Freedom
I'm Talkin' bout Freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in Freedom

Anyone, who tries to take it away
Will have to answer, Cause this is my right

I'm talkin' about Freedom
I'm Talkin' bout Freedom
I will fight, for the right
To live in Freedom, yeah oh

There's more, but you get the point.

Ronald Reagan couldn't have done better.

Unintentionally, the McCartney lyrics serve as a potent anthem as millions of Americans gear up to fight what they feel has gone so wildly off-track in America in the 2010 political concert currently playing with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid No Freedom Band.

To begin, the lyrics draw attention to the assumption -- the correct assumption -- that the demand for freedom has been around in one form or another for centuries. In fact, the 2010 election is but the next chapter in one of the greatest ongoing dramas in history, American or otherwise. It is a story that has gained force across the centuries, filled with heroes and villains, good and evil. A riveting drama of the life and times of legendary people and millions unknown whose ranks began to swell as they understood over time their instinct for freedom and the very basic human need to have it eventually rising to the very top of the list of fundamental human rights.

Whether it was the English Magna Carta in 1215 that forced King John to grant a charter of liberties and rights to his subjects or the Declaration of Independence in the Philadelphia of 1776 that addressed the abuses of another British monarch, George the Third, freedom has been the cri de coeur of mankind. Sometimes desperately, as with the Jews in 20th century Nazi Germany or the Russians of the Gulags. Sometimes proudly, as with African-Americans in the 1960's or supporters of the pro-life movement today. But always, always the demand has come insistently -- the sentiments of that Paul McCartney song expressing but a solitary if eloquent hymn to one of the most basic of human demands: 

This is my right, a right given by God
To live a free life, to live in Freedom

With a political tone deafness that would perhaps astonish even the pair of English Kings bearing the names of Sir Paul's famous bandmates, John and George, the American Left as led by Barack Obama has spent the entire first two years of a presidential term clueless about the message they were communicating to their fellow citizens. Absolutely clueless to the degree with which animosity towards all things Democrat and Obama/Pelosi/Reid are now associated with a determined effort to eradicate as much individual human freedom in America as is possible to get away with.

As a result, there is a political earthquake on the way this fall.

Pick almost any item from the Obama agenda as thus far played out -- health care, the stimulus, cap and trade, the Philadelphia voting rights case at the Justice Department, the presidential bowing to kings on this or that world stop, the dutiful apologies for the constitutionally enacted laws of Arizona to a United Nations Human Rights Council consisting of China, Cuba and Libya, or the symbolism behind the fanaticism of Ground Zero Mosque backers and…well…one could go on. And on.

What each and every issue involved has in common is that they adhere to concepts fashionable in some form or fashion with the demon ideas of absolute monarchy, dictatorship, socialism, communism, fascism, National Socialism and others. 

Which in turn is why there is such a furious rebellion from Americans. This is a country and a culture formed in fact by those who consciously strove to get-the-hell-out-of-there, wherever "there" happened to be. Depending on the American you speak with you will hear ancient or not-so-ancient stories of ancestors fleeing the likes of English Kings, Vietnamese or North Korean Communists or German Nazis or Cuban dictators or Mexican drug lords, Irish potato famines, Russian pogroms and so on. All fleeing in an endless parade that is in reality precisely the same defiant human insistence on finding freedom. These are no longer Europeans or Asians, Latinos or Africans in this country. They are Americans, and they refuse to have some updated, modernized you'll really-love-this-one version of the same bit placed in their mouth that drove their family member near or far to simply throw the whole damn thing over and head for America.

Not understanding this will, according to every poll out there, have drastic political consequences for Democrats and the President. Legions of examples of the sheerest of political arrogance follows some of these candidates like a red flag for voters, translating their actions as part of an anti-freedom agenda.

When California's Barbara Boxer snaps at a general in a Senate hearing demanding he call her "Senator," she is on the far edges of an agenda that says you will do things her way and tough cookies for your freedom. When Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak flamboyantly refuses to tell the truth of a proposed deal to get him a job in the Obama administration in return for a Senate withdrawal, he communicates an incredibly cavalier attitude towards your simple freedom -- your right -- to know the truth about your elected officials. When the Obama administration says you can keep the same health care arrangements you have -- but oh by the way you will be mandated by law to buy insurance -- your freedom sails out the window.

In truth it is this very core issue of freedom that is sending Republicans in places like Alaska and Utah to dump Republican incumbent Senators. It is this issue that is re-defining the race for the Delaware Senate GOP nomination between a pillar of the Establishment, Mike Castle, and outsider Christine O'Donnell.

Race after race after race, the issue of freedom shows up in every guise from the freedom to set state policy on gay marriage to the freedom to determine the placement of a mosque overwhelmingly opposed by 9/11 survivors to the freedom to reject health care insurance if you don't want it.

Freedom, as Sir Paul McCartney once so eloquently phrased it, is a right given by God.

Not the Obama Administration. Not by the state or your state.

On January 20, 1961, America's new president, the then-leader of Barack Obama's Democrats, gave one of the more memorable inaugural addresses in American history.

After giving a respectful nod to his aging predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower, the last president to be born in the 19th century, John F. Kennedy took note of the arrival of a new generation and their core understanding that they shared with not only Eisenhower but every generation of Americans. Said JFK:

"And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

Imagine that.

JFK in 1961: "..the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God"

Paul McCartney in 2001: "This is my right, a right given by God/To live a free life, to live in Freedom"

In the next two months, Americans will be swamped in polls, debates, cable news shows, newspaper headlines and a campaigning president and his opposition.

But at its core is an America that believes the Obama administration has with great deliberateness gotten John F. Kennedy backwards: that the rights of man come from the generosity of the state -- and who cares about the hand of God.

When in fact Americans, as evidenced by every piece of raw political data out there, not only agree with JFK, they are not-so-quietly singing the Paul McCartney of 2001:

"This is my right, a right given by God
To live a free life, to live in Freedom"

The battle begins anew. The conservative dream lives on.

And the soundtrack of Freedom, as always, is fabulous.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.