Arlo Guthrie, Republican?

You’d have to be what my Irish grandmother used to call417SY3QDNYL._SL500_AA240_ “a big age” to remember Woodie Guthrie, folk singer and champion of the working classes during the 1930s. Or you might just be a fan of American folk music. Woodie was pretty far to the Left in American politics; he “wrote a weekly column for The People’s Daily World, the West Coast edition of the Communist Party’s Daily Worker. It was called “Woody Sez,” and contained this pointed observations on life and politics.” [1]

But if you recognize Arlo Guthrie’s name it’s likely because you’re old enough to remember his appearance at the Woodstock Festival (and wonder where 40 years of your life have gone!), Guthrie’s appearance in the 1969 film, Alice’s Restaurant, and his eighteen and a half minute talking blues song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” that inspired the film.

In the July 26, 2009 edition of the New York Times Magazine some readers were shocked to see Arlo give this reply to “Where are you politically these days?”

I became a registered Republican about five or six years ago because to have a successful democracy you have to have at least two parties, and one of them was failing miserably. We had enough good Democrats. We needed a few more good Republicans. We needed a loyal opposition. [2]

Arlo Guthrie has reportedly made comments during concerts that reveal his frustrations with the trade unions including those working on his shows whose rules prevent him from carrying his own guitars onto the stage.

Reading his blog site, it’s clear that Arlo is not so much a Republican as he is a traditional libertarian:

…I would resolve the current controversy would be to insure that secular marriage be open to anyone. And that religious marriage not be infringed upon by the state – to marry or not as their traditions permit. Both religious and secular marriages would be acknowledged as it is now. That, to me, should be the Republican position…

…What’s up with health care?…The current administration and the Congress has been talking about how to make health care accessible to everyone, because they all know that these multinational organizations will be more than happy to provide long term drugs and services to a nation that permits and even encourages bad health whether or not a new health care plan comes into being. It’s a win – win for government, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, lawyers and agriculture. Only you lose.

The march has already begun around the world to outlaw the use of natural medicines – vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other plants so that you will become a criminal and a law breaker when you try to care for your own family in your own way. You are no longer responsible for yourself or your family, as the state has in no uncertain terms made it clear that you belong to the nation, and the nation has every right to protect you and your family from yourselves. The child in the midwest with cancer forced to undergo chemo and radiation being only the latest example. Is this not a cause for some loyal opposition? Where the hell are these guys when you need them? It’s not a matter of being right or wrong. I’ve been both many times. It’s a matter of having a real contest of ideas between different opinions…

…I want government and big business out of my garden. I want insurance companies out of my way when I go visit my doc…

…there’s more to life than arguing about everything, but maintaining the basic nature of a free and democratic nation, taking care of each other in ways that encourage security, prosperity and tranquility – Freedom, Liberty, Justice – You know, all the good stuff, these are worth talking about. I’ll go on talking and thinking about these things wherever I think they need to be heard, even though I know full well, they won’t be inviting me to any clambakes or anything. Good thing I got my own clams…

…Will the new health care reform, do more than just recycle the same bad health care to more people for less money? Now is a chance to do more than what’s being debated on TV. No one, politically on the right or left or anywhere near the middle has addressed my concerns.

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