Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Let America Be America Again"

A despicable right-wing politician known for his bigotry and intolerance tried to use this the above phrase for his campaign slogan in the upcoming elections. Then somebody told him that it's from a poem by one of America's great poets, who happened to be both black and gay as well as a socialist, the great Langston Hughes (photo). He's thinking better of using the slogan now.


Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

--Langston Hughes, 1938

(For Annie!)


  1. [ish, we have to stop meeting like this..]

    Maybe L. Hughes had the answer here, not red states, not blue states, rather...

    "We, the people, must redeem ...
    All, all the stretch of these great green states--
    And make America again! "

    Thanks, by the way.

  2. You've got to keep an eye on these guys (and gals)... she's at it again, I had to Tweet:

    @SarahPalinUSA “This is where the line has been drawn in the sand, and I’m glad to stand with you in solidarity,” - Lech Walesa? nope SarahP

  3. Really great Op-Ed about our Sarah:,0,7272287.column

  4. Finally read that OpEd, Annie. Nice work cutting her down to size. I finally saw a picture of Ms. Palin at that rally in horrifying. She's doing terrible things to my blood pressure I'm afraid!

    And what do you think, do you think The Donald is really running? How could people with half a brain even consider that? I's just too awful to contemplate.

  5. Well in the beginning I thought The Donald was just promoting his TV show. But with his EGO if he thinks he has any chance at all I wouldn't put it past him. I think I heard mention that once he declares he would have to give up his TV show, not sure about that, but if true then he will time it to his advantage.

    All these kooks scare me, such strange times we live in today ...

  6. This from The Dish:

    17 Apr 2011 08:21 PM
    Palin's Union History

    She's back in Wisconsin! And she's doin' her usual. McGinniss notes:

    She said, “I’m here as a patriot, as a taxpayer, and as a former union member.”

    I said, “Huh?” Lord, lordy, in all my research I somehow must have missed Sarah’s blue collar union days. But at least there’s still time to write about them in my last chapter, due June 4. So I checked.

    Turns out that Vince Beltrami, president of Alaska AFL-CIO, already wrote about those glory days – on Feb. 19, in the Anchorage Daily News.

    Beltrami was irked by the “utter hypocrisy” of Sarah urging (via Facebook) her “union brothers and sisters” to oppose the protests against Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s signing into law a bill that stripped public employees of union rights.

    He wrote, “She belonged to my union, the IBEW, for about a minute, over twenty years ago, one summer, in a temporary position.”

  7. She's a former union member using union solidarity... to denounce and bust unions?

    She's an obscenity.