1971 | Country
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“But your flag decal won't get you into Heaven anymore. -- We're already overcrowded from your dirty little war. -- Now Jesus don't like killin', no matter what the reason's for. -- And your flag decal won't get you into Heaven anymore.”
- This song opens up side two of Prine's self-titled debut.
- A part of Chicago's folk revival, he was discovered by Kris Kristofferson, resulting in his 1971 self-titled debut.
- In 2003, the album was ranked number 452 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
THE HOT TAKES
This is humor of a truly transcendent quality. "Now Jesus don't like killin', no matter what the reason's for; And your flag decal won't get you into Heaven anymore." The United States, no matter what principles it may or may not have been "founded on," (whatever that means) is no longer a bastion of justice. The moral compass has--let's say--gone awry. But that doesn't stop people from slapping US flags on their cars, their shirts, their houses, and everything else they can find. It's as bad a cross necklaces and public posturing about "wanting" to pay higher taxes. The worst possible variant of this could be the "Thin Blue Line" obsession of recent years. Greyscale flags with a single blue stripe, representing the cops who shield us all from the chaos and criminality of lawlessness. Please. If you want to lick boots, get a room. You're grossing me out.
This song is friggin' awesome. Lays bare the Christo-ststist virtue signaling. They want to support every war that comes along because their real god, The State, needs blood. So many of them talk about loving Jesus, but live for Old Testament retributive justice. They wouldn't know Jesus if he walked up to them.
Not that I personally care whether or not the bible justifies war but If someone can use it to convince those who do care what it says to kill a few less people I suppose I have to get behind the message. What I find most interesting about this song is that I grew up in the era of Toby Keith. For my entire adult life country music has been about lionizing the murder of people overseas. So this song from 1971 tells a story of a time perhaps when country wasn't a brand built on proselytizing nationalism to poor people across America. No sticking boots in the asses of the wrong foreigners for lies our own government perpetrated. Maybe this is why i was always drawn to older country and not the nonsense pop-country hybrid the masses swallow today.