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Artist says GOP misses song context

October 07, 2008|Randy Lewis

The John McCain campaign has sounded echoes of Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign gaffe of adopting Bruce Springsteen's antiwar song "Born in the U.S.A." by using the Martina McBride country hit "Independence Day" to bring his GOP running mate Sarah Palin on stage at a rally following her debate Thursday with Sen. Joe Biden.

The title and most of the chorus sound cheery, patriotic and upbeat -- perfect for a rally: Let freedom ring/ Let the white dove sing/ Let the whole world know that today is the day of a reckoning. . . . It's Independence Day.

But the full story in the song, written by Nashville veteran Gretchen Peters, follows the mother of an 8-year-old daughter who finally escapes an abusive husband by torching their house, with him still inside.

"The fact that the McCain-Palin campaign is using a song about an abused woman as a rallying cry for their vice presidential candidate, a woman who would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, is beyond irony," Peters said. "They are co-opting the song, completely overlooking the context and message, and using it to promote a candidate who would set women's rights back decades."

Peters says she'll be donating her songwriting royalties from the song to Planned Parenthood -- in Palin's name.

-- Randy Lewis

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