James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Born Again American offers Leary patriotism

Posted by James McPherson on January 26, 2010

Almost as if in answer to my post yesterday about where the power currently lies in America (hint: not with the people), today I received a link to an interesting video and Web site, both titled “Born Again American.”

Because of its religious-sounding title and because the link came to me from a generally conservative source, and because the video sounds like a country song and includes the words “my bible and the Bill of Rights,” I almost dismissed it fairly quickly as just another bit of right-wing propaganda. That dismissal would have been a mistake, though I do have mixed emotions about the group’s focus because of how easily patriotism sometimes seems to drift into xenophobia, and because I suspect so many listeners will hear “my bible” as “the Bible.”

As it turns out, the organization was founded by noted liberal Norman Lear, who produced “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Maude” (among other programs) on television and helped found the Civil Liberties-devoted organization, People for the American Way (which includes a “Right Wing Watch“). The singers on the collaborative “Born Again American” video include a Muslim, a Jewish cantor and the Harlem Gospel Choir. Performers include several whites and blacks, at least two Latino Americans and one Chinese-American. (Perhaps notably, however, there seem to be no Native Americans.)

According to the Web site, Born Again Americans “is committed to the rebirth and re-expression of citizenship through informed and thoughtful activism. It is an initiative of Declare Yourself, a national non-partisan, non-profit (501(c)3) organization dedicated to increasing young voter participation and civic involvement.”

I’ll post the video below, but still encourage you to check out the Web site for yourself. There’s good information for both supposed liberals and conservatives who care about civil liberties and citizen activism.

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