"Does Merle Haggard Speak for America?"

From TIME.com:
"The folks don't have a say-so anymore. They're being force-fed -- music, yeah, but every other darn thing too. I supported George W. I'm not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq... I'm a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives."

"The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install fear in people. This is America. We're proud. We're not afraid of a bunch of terrorists. But this government is all about terror alerts and scaring us at airports. We're changing the Constitution out of fear. We spend all our time looking up each other's dresses. Fear's the only issue the Republican Party has. Vote for them, or the terrorists will win. That's not what Reagan was about. I hate to think about our soldiers over in Iraq fighting for a country that's slipping away."

--Merle Haggard, Grammy Award-winning Country music singer, guitarist and songwriter
President and Mrs. Reagan attending the PBS special for Merle Haggard’s Young Artists Performance in Santa Ynez, California. 3/7/82.
President and Mrs. Reagan attending the PBS special for Merle Haggard’s Young Artists Performance in Santa Ynez, California. 3/7/82. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, National Archives and Records Administration)

Merle as much as I like your music and some of what you are saying ... as much as the party of Hilary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore needs "Reagan Democrats" like you to come home to their party ... I'm disappointed that you appear to be just as misinformed as are most other Americans.

Yes Merle of course ours isn't much of a democracy, but it never was -- never in practice, only in theory. And yes Merle we invaded Iraq to benefit the oil industry, but not in ways that most Americans understand. Yes Merle we should all fear the Christian right, and religious fundamentalists of all stripes. Yes Bush and Cheney are big believers in using fear to control and manipulate, the "Shock Doctrine" as preached by Milton Friedman and portrayed in Naomi Klein's book of the same name. And when fear does not work, they are not afraid to kidnap, torture and murder.

Yes Merle you're right about so many things, but you're wrong about Reagan. Reagan was most definitely "about" these things, too. In fact, Reagan is the evil father of George W Bush. Our country did not just begin slipping away -- it has been since Nixon. Reagan ushered in the current era of corrupt privatization, disastrous deregulation and uncivil cuts to social services; a legacy that Bush has proudly escalated.

Merle I hate to say it, but dumbasses like you who voted for Reagan got us into this mess in the first place. So I guess the answer to Joe Klein's question is: Yes Merle Haggard does speak for America.