What makes Make America Great Again ironic

Konstantin Wecker

Make America Great Again

Make America Great Again

An analysis too America (Out: Fatherland live 01/02. Global 2002)

The following post deals with the song America by Konstantin Wecker in the text composition from the CD Fatherland live (2002). Furthermore, the song still exists in the following versions: text version stations (2003, in the CD box Alle Lust wants Ewigkeit), text version CD Vaterland (2001), text version Maxi-CD America (2000). In the song Wecker criticizes the United States of America for its economic model and its promises of freedom.

The song consists of three stanzas with ten, eleven and eight verses each; the stanzas alternate with a four-line refrain. The song ends with a two-line line. There is a continuous pair of rhymes in the song. Linguistic peculiarities are on the one hand the word fields violence and politics and on the other hand the repeated title word America, which is used three times in the refrain. Anglicisms, which are integrated into the German syntax, are also used increasingly. Another specialty is the mixture of English and Bavarian: “Die leik i” (Wecker 2002).

The song begins with the chorus. With the verses "America, America / you are so far and yet so close / because you are always there for us / America" ​​(ibid.) The lyrical I with the pronoun us alludes to the historical and political relationship of Europe and especially Germany to the United States, which is linked to NATO and the role of the Allies in World War II and the Cold War. The song thus refers to the historical significance of the cooperation and friendship between the USA and the FRG.

The first stanza deals with the situation for individuals in the USA. It begins with the words: “Everyone is drawn to you / from Unterhaching to Berlin” (ibid.); the attraction consists in the myth of the American Dreamthat attracts people to the United States around the world. But the song debunks the myth when it comes to criticism of the American economic system by relating immigration, slavery and consumer behavior to one another. The verse: “I too would like to be deslaved by you” (ibid.), Follows on from the talk of “free land”, but is ironically broken by praise for unrestrained consumption. The criticism of capitalism at the end of the stanza reads as a punch line and exposure of what is understood by freedom in capitalism, namely the customers' desire to buy: "We went shopping every day / that could not be topped by anything" (ibid.).

In the second stanza, Wecker first deals with American politics and its President George W. Bush, who was in office in 2002. Its name is ironically corrupted: “Dabbelju finally rules you” (ibid.). The verse: “We would have been spared” (ibid.) Is concretized when Bush is criticized as a warmonger, environmental sinner and capitalist. The text indirectly alludes to the war in Afghanistan that Bush began after 9/11/2001. Next, the song makes fun of Bush's conservative view of the world as he is a friend of the death penalty and opposes abortion. The verdict of Bush would have been “spared us” (ibid.) Is ironically contrasted with the rhyme “would have been an abortion in Texas” (ibid.) And intensified with the verse: “He is not a great thinker but a friend of the executioners” (ibid.) .). In addition, this verse addresses the power of the economy and companies that make profit at the expense of the environment through lobbying: "It creeps up the ass of the economy / [...] it remains pure waste / doesn't give a shit about the environment and nature / but your shoes." by Nike ”(ibid.).

In the third stanza, Wecker addresses the military policy of the USA and at the same time refers to German politicians. He initially deals with the hegemonic role of the USA as a so-called World police and criticizes the alleged attempted solution to fight violence with violence in order to create peace: "If there is a fire somewhere in the world / your army comes running up / then bombs are never extinguished / for freedom and democracy" (ibid.). Wecker then criticizes the attitude of German politicians who are guided by the will of the Americans: "Whatever you send across the pond / we swallow it straight away" (ibid.). The responsible politicians are not only alluded to, they are named. The list is led by Otto Schily, the then Federal Minister of the Interior of the SPD, followed by Ronald Schill, the then Interior Senator of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, and Gerhard Schröder, then Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. After the terrorist act on September 11th, Schröder had declared Germany's “unlimited solidarity” to the USA in a government statement and promoted Germany's entry into the war in Afghanistan. In November 2001, Gerhard Schröder even had a vote of confidence in the Bundestag about the deployment of the Federal Armed Forces.

With the two-line line at the end of the song “Now I'm sitting here and waiting / for your Greene Card” (ibid.), The author draws attention to the problem of (il) legal immigration on the one hand, because in the possession of one Green card, which allows unlimited residence in the US, only a few get. Ironically, however, Wecker turns the immigration request on because it is not Green card of the lyrical self, but that of America, after all, it is called 'your' not 'my' card.

Thematically, this song can be read with other texts by Wecker. There are songs like that on the same album Arms dealer Tango or When the stockbrokers dance; the latter deals with the no longer controllable capitalism. In concrete terms, this means that the American economic system, which is designed for ever steadier growth, is at the expense of the population. After all, growth is primarily financed and generated by those who benefit the least from it. In addition to the greed of some large corporations, the reason is the lack of political will to establish a more philanthropic system.

It is also exciting that Wecker, who visited us in the seminar as part of our examination of his texts, himself provided some readings of this text (not explicitly, but related to the topics addressed). In an interview, he emphasized that violence cannot be combated with violence.

In summary, it can be said that Wecker analyzed the problems of the great power America at the time with irony and targeted punchlines. Looking to the present day, it is striking how America’s problems of yesteryear, such as the rampant capitalism and armed violence of both private individuals and the state itself, are still relevant today. The constant fear of terrorism, as well as the desire to bring peace to the world through military interventions, should also be mentioned. This tactic is reflected in the current Iran conflict.



Alarm clock, Konstantin: America. Out: Fatherland live 01/02. Global 2002.


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