Donald Trump Uses “Fortunate Son” at Rally, Clearly Not Understanding It’s Insulting People Like Him
I am my father's daughter ... in the sense that I'm mad about someone misunderstanding a CCR song.
When I think of Creedence Clearwater Revival, I think of the music that came out of the tension surrounding the Vietnam War. I guess you could call it “anti-war protest music.” You can hear the same thing in songs from the Beatles, the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic (which was in Avengers: Endgame), and so many others, detailing for us all the response that so many young people had to the government and its involvement in the Vietnam war.
All of this to say that Donald Trump used “Fortunate Son” at his rally yesterday, and … well, let’s get into why this is a complete and utter mess.
“Fortunate Son” plays as Trump de-planes, an entry for the “nobody listened to the lyrics” hall of fame. pic.twitter.com/fJBPI7CxGQ
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 10, 2020
John Fogerty (of CCR) wrote the song in 1969, after he had been drafted into Vietnam and served in the military. In a video that Fogerty posted, he explained the meaning of the song and why it is confounding (his words) that Trump would use it at all.
As Fogerty went on to explain, the song “Fortunate Son” is an indictment of those who use their privilege to get out of fighting alongside their fellow Americans to protect this country they claim to be so proud to be a part of. So … literally Donald Trump. Fogerty went on to compare his son to what’s happening in the world today and even went as far to say that he could have written it in 2020 about the world we live in (citing Trump using federal troops for a photo op). The best part? Fogerty politely asking that we wear masks and signing off in the nicest way possible.
But back to “Fortunate Son,” the opening lyrics to the song perfectly explain Fogerty’s meaning, if you’d stop and listen to it:
Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooh, their red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Ooh, they point the cannon at you.
What’s ironic—you know what? No, it’s not even ironic anymore. This has killed irony. What’s horrifying about this entire thing is that Trump is either not smart enough to recognize that the song is calling out people like him or he just doesn’t care. In case you weren’t aware, Donald Trump dodged the Vietnam war draft upwards of 5 times. (The headline of the linked article there points out that it “wasn’t uncommon for young men from influential families to do so,” and … yeah, guys, the privilege and hypocrisy is the part that bugs us, not that we just love the Vietnam war or the draft!) And, if I had to venture a guess, I’d say that he just doesn’t care.
Our Kaila Hale-Stern even wrote an incredible piece on “Fortunate Son” and how, more often than not, people misinterpret the song. And so, I guess, case in point: Donald Trump. There’s a small part of me that thinks that Donald Trump is using this song to “connect” with those who served in Vietnam or who remember listening to this song in their own youth and trying to lure them into his cult.
The problem is that everyone needs to sit down and have a history lesson on Creedence Clearwater Revival and “Fortunate Son.” What next? Is Donald Trump going to walk out on the debate stage to “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield? (Please god, no. I don’t want to accidentally will this into existence.)
So … simply put: “Fortunate Son” isn’t for you, Donald. Actually, nothing from the Vietnam era is for you. Just skip over those and head right to Kid Rock songs. That’s your wheelhouse.
(image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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