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In what has become an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition, the wife and I were watching -- and, by extension, ruthlessly mocking -- the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the event that dares to ask the question, "What happens when you bring together the splendor of hot-air balloons, the pageantry of lip-synching pop stars and the forced servitude of the 'Today' show anchors?"

(The answer? High comedy? Particularly on close-ups of Matt Lauer, when you can see the self-loathing in his eyes as he prattles on about the Garfield balloon.)

It was my wife who noticed the multitude of young girls -- it may have been some national champion cheerleading group, though it could just as easily not have been -- performing a musical salute to America. And they chose, as their accompaniment to their tribute to all things red, white and blue, "Born in the U.S.A." by New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen and "American Woman" by shifty Canadian rock band The Guess Who.

I figure that whoever vets the musical selections for the cheerleading group didn't pay close attention to the lyrics of either song. I mean, I enjoy both ditties as much as the next guy, but if I'm looking for tunes with a "USA All the Way" or "My Country, Right or Wrong" vibe, I think I'd shy away from lyrics like:

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man


American woman, said get away
American woman, listen what I say
Don't come hanging around my door
Don't wanna see your face no more
I don't need your war machines
I don't need your ghetto scenes

Then again, perhaps I'm not giving the cheerleaders enough credit. Maybe their choice of songs wasn't merely the result of some thick-headed lummox blindly selecting tunes with the words "America" or "U.S.A." in the title, but rather a stirring commentary on protest, a salute to patriotism by celebrating the right to dissent.

Or maybe the cheerleaders just hate America. Whatever the case, I suggest we haul them off to Gitmo post-haste until we can sort this thing out.


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