Happy Birthday to the beautiful, maddening, complicated, tragic, incredibly friendly and unbelievably diverse country I come from.
I grew up with John Mellencamp's music, and it embodies for me the essence of that particular slice of left-leaning working-class America that my Pennsylvania brothers and I come from: those big-hearted, union-joining, hard-working, open-minded, racially/culturally mixed, quick-witted, generous-spirited men and women that are the backbone of so many communities all across the country. (Mellencamp himself has done a lot of work for rural poverty issues and is one of the founders of Farm Aid.) These tunes go out to all of my brothers. Drink a beer for me today.
Above, Mellencamp's "Our Country" video from 2006. (Preach it, John!) Below, classic Mellencamp from the '80s.
And a related post that seems appropriate today: "Thoughts About Home."