The Killers Make A Compelling Argument On Injustice In “Land Of The Free” michaeleaborn | 2021-05-05 09:38 UTC

“Land of the Free” is a song by The Killers, which handles tough subjects in America such as gun control, immigration and racial tensions. The song, sung by Brandon Flowers, brings attention to the injustices in the United States, which is known as the ‘Land of the Free’. The lyrics have a deeper meaning.

Can't wipe the wind-blown smile from across my face
It's just the old man in me
Washing his truck at the Sinclair station
In the land of the free (Ooh)
His mother, Adeline's family, came on a ship
Cut coal and planted a seed
Down in them drift mines of Pennsylvania
In the land of the free
Verse 1 talks about immigration by making a reference to Sinclair Oil Corporation, a petroleum corporation whose stations are widespread in the United States of America. These lines express the hypocrisy of being free in the USA while still being bound by your job and the disillusionment of always being content within your occupation. America is a nation built on immigration. Most immigrants came to America to seek a better life. Instead, many immigrants were forced to work grueling jobs in dangerous coal mines. Though America is also known as the “Land of Opportunity,” not all Americans’ lives are ideal; some people work tirelessly day-in and -out, rarely getting the recognition or success they deserve.

Land of the free, land of the free
In the land of the free
Land of the free, land of the free
Land of the free, land of the free
In the land of the free
(I'm standing crying)
The phrase ‘Land of the Free’ is being mocked as a way to show the hypocrisy behind America’s longtime nickname and is repeated throughout the song.

When I go out in my car, I don't think twice
But if you're the wrong color skin (I'm standing, crying)
You grow up looking over both your shoulders
In the land of the free
And we got more people locked up than the rest of the world
Right here in red, white and blue (I'm standing, crying)
Incarceration's become big business
It's harvest time out on the avenue
Verse 2 talks about the effects of systemic racism and violence against people of color. Invasive traffic stops against African Americans in the U.S. has become a prevalent issue, especially in the South. As a white man himself, Flowers admits his privilege where he does not have to worry about police brutality or racially-motivated crimes. Trayvon Martin, who Flowers cited as an inspiration for the track. Martin was a 17-year old African American who was staying with his father in Florida. After a brief visit to a local gas station, Martin was shot dead just outside his father’s gated community. The U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation on the globe. With a prison population of over 2 million people, the private prison business has become something of a cottage industry. This means the U.S. has companies whose profits are derived from increasing how many people they imprison and how long they imprison them (e.g. Geo Group, Corrections Corporation of America, and Management and Training Corporation). Big business stays at the top, the working classes are incarcerated, and big business makes money off them. It’s a vicious cycle that has especially targeted minorities, and has been further exacerbated by the War on Drugs, seen by many as an enormous failure.

Land of the free, land of the free
In the land of the free
Land of the free, land of the free
Move on there's nothing to see
Land of the free, land of the free
In the land of the free
The phrase Move on there’s nothing to see’ points out the major flaw in the Land of the Free. America has a reputation of ignoring big problems going on in its own setting, or not giving any real solution to problems. People don’t talk about the flaws America has; it would ruin the “American Dream”. They, such as presidential authority and government, keep most of America in the dark in certain situations. They don’t want anyone figuring out just how imperfect our country is right now, despite how easy it is to realize the current state.

Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh
I'm standing, crying (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
I'm standing, crying
So how many daughters, tell me, how many sons
Do we have to have to put in the ground
Before we just break down and face it:
We got a problem with guns? (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
In the land of the free
Down at the border, they're gonna put up a wall
Concrete and Rebar Steel beams (I'm standing, crying)
High enough to keep all those filthy hands off
Of our hopes and our dreams (I'm standing, crying)
People who just want the same things we do
In the land of the free
Verse 3 talks about Gun Control. Mass shootings have become commonplace throughout the country. 2017 bore witness to America’s most-lethal mass shooting in The Killers’ hometown of Las Vegas, when 58 people were killed and 422 injured by a shooter during a music festival. School shootings have also incited vast waves of protest for better gun regulation. The Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando also inspired talks of gun reform. Despite all, the government has done little to respond to these outcries, and the country is now infamous for its shooting epidemic.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been largely concentrated and criticized surrounding his plans for a fortified wall along the US-Mexico border. Flowers comments on the hypocrisy of living in “the land of the free” but not allowing immigrants, of which the nation was founded, to persist. Donald Trump has a history of disparaging Mexicans, overgeneralizing them as being filthy, rapists, criminals, and animals, among others.

"Enough was enough. It started, in my mind, around the time Sandy Hook happened, and then it just started stacking up, like Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, things that are happening with [Donald Trump’s] wall. You know, this stuff just didn’t seem to be in harmony with the values I believe my country was founded on.”

Brandon Flowers

By michaeleaborn on 2021-05-05 09:38 UTC
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