It wrenches the needle off the jingo meter.
It still provokes somber tut-tutting from our betters about the knee-jerk ignorance of NASCAR America.
And nowhere in American pop culture after 9/11 did the id of the vast mass of America between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre get expressed better.
Which isn’t to say there wasn’t competition. Springsteen’s The Rising evoked loss, commemorated heroism, and opened the faucet on the best evocations of spirituality during times of tragedy in American pop music history. Neil Young’s “Let’s Roll” and Big and Rich’s “Eighth of November” took very different approaches to illuminating the best in American, and human, character against horrendous odds.
All well and good.
And it’s true; there are times when diplomacy and nuance and meeting your enemy halfway and being aware of ones’ own faults is essential – even in wartime.
But there are some times, some moods, when putting a boot in someone’s ass, the American way, is all that will suffice. There are times when, like Churchill’s “Dunkirk” and Reagan’s “Shining City” and “Brandenburg Gate” speeches, I just need to hear it.
There is no substitute.
So kudos, Toby Keith.