Wherever this flag's flown, we take care of our own.

Here's an entry by our friend and guest blogger, Noland. Wherever this flag’s flown, we take care of our own In his new single, "We Take Care of Our Own," Bruce Springsteen summarizes President Obama’s State of the Union Address in six short words. Its an idea that helped bring the Rebuild the Dream community together, a value that makes the American Dream possible. It is the sentiment at the heart of the progressive argument: we ought to take care of each other. In the speech that introduced Barack Obama to the world in 2004 he put it this way: “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.” It’s a beautiful idea, and it helped propel the unknown State Senator on a path that led to the presidency (with a little help from the Boss). But eight years, an historic Presidential election and an economic catastrophe later we have to ask ourselves - are we living up to this vision of America? The Boss seems to think not. "We Take Care of Our Own" is an echo of "Born in the USA," a bitter, ironic howl. It is a beautiful American ideal shown in the harsh light of our failure to live up to it. I’ve been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone,  the road of good intentions has gone dry as a bone Born in the USA describes a nation still shattered by the shame of Vietnam, and the plight of veterans of that war betrayed and abandoned, first abroad then again at home. "We Take Care of Our Own" describes a nation wracked by economic turmoil slowing turning on itself, and away from the values that make it great. Springsteen has an amazing sensitivity to the soul of this country, especially at moments of great pain. Is there another artist, much less politician, who better captured the national mood after 9/11 than Springsteen did with "The Rising"? With "We Take Care of Our Own" he has done so again. This is the defining struggle of American identity at this moment. When things get hard, will we turn to each other or on each other? We are in a period of national hardship. Will we allow our financial poverty to turn into a poverty of spirit? Our communities are being squeezed by foreclosure and joblessness and debt.  We are already seeing the struggle and pain lead to ugliness - calls for budget cuts that target teachers and nurses, the vilification of immigrants and unions. Our political conversation becomes more hateful and poisoned every day. Springsteen has been telling the American story for almost 40 years. In him America has a true friend, one who will tell us when we begin to lose our way. We are equally blessed to have a President that has taken this opportunity to call on us to renew our commitment to one another. We need his leadership now more than ever.  You can follow Noland on Twitter @nolandcc

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