Friday, January 06, 2006

An Open Letter To My Teenage Son

No wonder we were crazy in the 60s. This "song" was a big hit on AM radio. A lot of parents thought it was a smart piece of writing (as opposed to, say, smarmy, reactionary claptrap). It was just flat depressing. But then that's the way it was. I remember a lot of heated arguments with angry adults, and teachers and Sunday school teachers over the war and protesting and burning draft cards. I even witnessed an actual father-son fight over the war. I tracked the song down to You can listen to it on your PC, or download it... Click here to listen.

An Open Letter To My Teenage Son
by Victor Lundberg

Dear son:

You ask my reaction to long hair or beards on young people
Some great men have worn long hair and beards
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
If to you long hair or a beard is a symbol of independence
If you believe in your heart that the principles of this country
Our heritage, is worthy of this display of pride
That all men shall remain free
That free men at all times will not inflict their personal limitations
Of achievement on others,
That demands your own rights as well as the rights of others
And be willing to fight for this right, you have my blessings

You ask that I not judge you merely as a teenager
To judge you on your own personal habits, abilities and goals
This is a fair request and I promise that I will not judge any person
Only as a teenager if you will constantly remind yourself that some of my
generation judge people by their race, their belief or the color
of their skin and that this is no more right than saying all
teenagers are drunken dope addicts or glue sniffers
If you will judge every human being on his own individual potential
I will do the same.

You ask me if God is dead
This is a question each individual must answer within himself
But a warm summer day with all its brightness
All its sound, all its exhilarating breathiness just happened
God is love. Remember that God is a guide and not a storm trooper
Realize that many of the past and present generation
Because of a well intended but unjustifiable misconception
Have attempted to legislate morality
This created part of the basis
For your generation's need to rebel against our society
With this knowledge perhaps your children will never ask
Is God dead?
I sometimes think much of mankind is attempting to work Him to death

You ask my opinion of draft card burners. I would answer this way
All past wars have been dirty, unfair, immoral, bloody and second-guessed
However, history has shown most of them necessary
If you doubt that our free enterprise system
In the United States is worth protecting, if you doubt the principles
Upon which this country was founded, that we remain free to choose our religion
Our individual endeavors, our method of government
If you doubt that each free individual in this great country
should reap rewards commensurate only with his own efforts
Than it is doubtful you belong here

If you doubt that people who govern us
Should be selected by their desire
To allow us to strive for any goal we feel capable of obtaining
Than its doubtful you should participate in their selection
If you are not grateful to a country
That gave your father the opportunity to work
For his family to give you the things you have and you do not feel pride
Enough to fight for your right to continue in this
Manner than I assume the blame for your failure
To recognize the true value of our birthright

And I will remind you that your mother will love
you no matter what you do, because she is a woman
And I love you too son
But I also love our country and the principles for which we stand
And if you decide to burn your draft card
then burn your birth certificate at the same time
From that moment on, I have no son


Anonymous said...

That is far and above the most wretched, dim witted, sexist, mislead, ineloquent, piss poor tripe I have ever heard in my life. Easy.

Jack Brummet said...

And for a while, it totally co-existed on AM radio with Hendrix, Cream, The Beatles and Dylan

ok said...

That song makes me want to grow a beard. To bad we don't have a draft for the current war, then I could burn some draft cards too.

Anonymous said...

For the first half I thought to myself, "This isn't so bad; it's fairly even handed." But then the second half is awful. If I were that guy's son, I'd tell my father that if he believes the "fair" enterprise system really works and that all wars have been justified, then I HAVE NO FATHER!

Anonymous said...

well as for the youngster from Saterday July 12th 2008. that is becuase you were not brought up right i have listen to this song from almost day one and it brought chills to my back and its still doing it today so if i was your father i would say good get the f out. Thats just what i felt like

Anonymous said...

all you people must not believe in the flag or what rights you have that the military gave you by fighting for you damn rights so you don't like it there are other countrys that you can go to and then you can go to heckes after ward

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking of Hermann Goering's exchange during the Nuremberg trials:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Anonymous said...

And here I was just wondering where the quote from this song came from: