“Fortunate Son”, Creedence Clearwater Revival

This song is as spot on today as it was in 1969.  It makes me angry, but in this case that’s a good thing.  It’s good to be pissed off that poor kids are usually the ones sent off to die in wars.  It’s good to be pissed off that rich politicians who claim to be patriots dodged the draft during Vietnam.  It’s good to be pissed off that this shit is still happening.  When I heard this song as a kid I understood exactly what it meant.  I fancied myself quite the hippy at my junior high school in Reagan’s 1980s America.  Iran-contra was going on, we were always on the verge of war with someone like Russia, Iran, or Libya, and people were suffering in the streets of our country.  But the rich kept getting richer, the poor kept going poorer, and I was taking it all very personally.  There were few songs like this at the time—Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. was the only album I knew that talked about any current events—so I latched on to old school protest and social commentary songs like this one.  I wanted to lead the new revolution, and I was going to start by building a great soundtrack. 

 

Since the 1992 election everyone who has run for president who was old enough to have gone to Vietnam and didn’t has been interrogated about why they didn’t go.  Three nominees, Al Gore, John Kerry, and John McCain, actually did serve; none won the presidency.  So I guess it’s really not important to most Americans whether anyone went to Vietnam.  Bill Clinton went to college; George Bush got drunk a lot and joined the National Guard; and Mitt Romney, well, good old Mittens protested against the anti-war protestors and then took a religious deferment so he could go to Paris and be Super Mormon.  Bill Clinton was not from a wealthy family, so he does not qualify as a fortunate son; in his case, he went to college because he actually wanted to be in college.  But Bush and Mittens?  They came from powerful and wealthy families that guaranteed they would never be put in harm’s way in Vietnam.  Nobody put a rifle in their hands to go and kill the yellow man.  That honor was reserved for the poor who had no way to get out of it.

 

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

 

I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to go and die in a foreign country for no reason, or even if there is a legitimate reason to be at war with a country, I totally understand wanting to stay away from it.  What disgusts me is the way certain people got out of going.  They were not too picky about who they took in Vietnam.  My father enlisted, and he was not even American citizen yet.  He fell for the bullshit about traveling and getting a paycheck and all that.  He was a medic, so he saw the worst things you could imagine.  When he returned to the United States, he threw all of his Army stuff in the garbage at the airport.  He rarely talks about his experiences.  He’s not obsessed with it, not haunted like some of those guys.  He went, he saved some lives, delivered some babies, and he came back in one piece.

 

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yeah

 

Politicians who did not serve but who question the patriotism of political opponents just need to shut the fuck up.  How dare they talk such shit about anyone when they were not willing to put their lives on the line for their country!  Especially when these politicians decide to send other people’s children into a war zone.  It is offensive.  It is hypocritical.  It makes me want to vomit. 

 

Don’t forget that shit when you vote.

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on ““Fortunate Son”, Creedence Clearwater Revival

  1. I love that song, thank you for the memory. I was born in ’69, but have always loved this single. I have some friends that have included it on an EPK, so it has another special connection for me. I appreciate your post today, it was well written and made me think. I look forward to getting to know you and reading more.

    Like

    • Thank you! I was born in 1973, but I grew up listening to music from the 50s and 60s. And since my father and one of my mother’s cousins were in Vietnam, I have always been interested in stuff like this. I would have been out there protesting Vietnam. It makes me sad and angry that this song is still relevant.

      Like

  2. I did serve in Vietnam. I am a woman, was not a nurse. I TOTALLY agree with your comments about the wealthy and privileged – their sons, especially their daughters – are NOT going to go to war. Being a ‘missionary’ is NOT the same thing.

    Like

    • Thank you for your service to our country. I just had an argument with a friend on Facebook about missionary work. Nobody objects to anyone doing missionary work, but it’s not the same thing as being shot at, bombed, or taken as a POW. To compare those experiences is offensive.

      Like

  3. I was a Medical Corpman 66-67 now retired, am building a 49 Merc Hot Rod, am naming it “Favorite Son” in memory of all our brother’s and sister’s——-who didn’t get to “come home”,my thinking is this song deserves to be played every time we ship one of “ours” off to war.

    Like

    • Thank you for your service. That is a great idea to honor our brothers and sisters on your ’49 hot rod. And I agree that “Fortunate Son” should be played for our troops when they ship out. It’s unfortunate that this song still resonates. I wish we could leave it in the past, but as long as there are rich white men willing to send poor kids off to die, this song will be necessary.

      Like

  4. Both Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush also served, and they lost to Bill Clinton. My father served in the Army Reserves for 30 years. He never went to Vietnam, but I consider him a Patriot. I know of may folks who in the Guard and Reserves in our all volunteer force, and I honor their service too. As you said, prior service doesn’t seem to be a factor in choosing a president, and I don’t think this election should be any different.

    I believe that the current election is about life here at home and securing our future through wise stewardship of our natural and human resources. We have hard choices ahead, and we need to work together, left and right, rich and poor to make sure that we honor our commitment to future generations.

    Most assuredly, our President has the responsibility to protect and safeguard our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Although they choose somewhat different paths, neither Mr. Romney nor President Obama seek war, and I would expect either man to not place our sons in daughters in harms’ way without the utmost forethought about the consequences.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s