Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017Last Update: Thursday, May 4th, 2017 02:03:55 PM

Why Praise Woody Guthrie?

By: Steve Byas

I have come to a conclusion: the reason many people like Woody Guthrie so much is because he was a philosophical communist, not in spite of it.

Once again, Woody Guthrie, a native of Oklahoma from Okemah, has garnered favorable accolades in the popular culture, this time promoted by the state government of Oklahoma in the form of the Oklahoma History Center.

Time Changes Everything is the tile of a play performed at the Oklahoma History Center in late March, which centers on a fictional meeting between Oklahoma's legendary Western Swing performer Bob Wills and Guthrie.

The promotional post card sent by the Oklahoma History Center for the event explains, "Bob Wills and Woody Guthrie are not known to have met in real life, but this theatrical play envisions a discussion about music and life between the two iconic figures portrayed by Oklahoma musicians John Cooper and Brad Piccolo."

The screen play was written by former Tulsa World entertainment writers Thomas Conner and John Wooley. On Wooley's website he is critical of "those who still believe that folks like Bill O'Reilly speak for America."

One supposes he thinks Woody Guthrie does "speak for America."

Who was Woody Guthrie, and why does he hold such appeal for so many?

While Guthrie claimed to have joined the American Communist Party, there was no evidence that he actually did. What he did do was write 174 columns under the title of Woody Sez for the Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker. Among his columns, he praised Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, even defending his unprovoked invasion of Poland in 1939!

Guthrie's most famous song was probably This Land Is Your Land, which was inspired as a retort to the patriotic God Bless America by Irving Berlin. One of the verses reveals the anti-private property views of the leftist Guthrie.

"As I went walking, I saw a sign there, And on the sign there, it said Private Property (some versions say "no trespassing," but the thought is the same in either version), But on the other side, it didn't say nothing! That side was made for you and me."

One could go on with Guthrie's communistic philosophy, and discuss his close friendships with avowed communists, but hopefully this makes the point that Woody Guthrie was a philosophical communist, who wrote for a communist newspaper. One could even say he was the most extreme kind of communist—a Stalinist.

The question is, why praise this man, who admired a mass murderer like Stalin?

I recently tried to ask this question of the editorial staff of the liberal Oklahoma Gazette, at a public meeting. They gave the appearance, either real or contrived, of not understanding my question. I asked if instead of being a philosophical communist, who wrote for a communist newspaper, let's say Guthrie was a philosophical Nazi, who had written for a Nazi newspaper. Would he have plays written about him, have festivals in his honor, have musical awards named for him?

The answer is clearly no.

One of the Gazette leaders tried to deflect my question by asking me if I knew of a popular author from Oklahoma attending a Communist Party meeting. Since I was asking about Woody Guthrie, I did not understand why it mattered about someone else.

I am perplexed as to how Joe Stalin, a mass murderer, can far receive less criticism from these folks than Joe McCarthy. So far as I know, Joe McCarthy never killed anybody.

I have come to a conclusion: the reason many people like Woody Guthrie so much is because he was a philosophical communist, not in spite of it. That says more about them than it does Woody Guthrie.

About Steve Byas

Steve Byas is editor of the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper. He may be contacted at: byassteve@yahoo.com

Other Articles By Steve Byas

Cole, Inhofe, Lankford, Russell, Wrong on Syria

It was quite discouraging. Following the decision by President Trump to bomb a country Syria ...

Civil Asset Forfeiture and Oklahoma's State Constitution

It is remarkable how when one challenges the practice of government agents taking private property,...

Book Review: The Oklahomans

The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its PeopleVolume I: Ancient-Statehoodby John J. Dw...

Repeal of Blaine Amendment is a Band-Aid Approach

Quote: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used,...

End Civil Asset Forfeiture in Oklahoma

William Cicco left his Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, home in March 2013, and was arrested by Bixby police...

Report on the Republican National Convention

Oklahoma Constitution newspaper editor Steve Byas was a delegate to the Republican National...

What is the best way to fight abortion?

The Oklahoma Supreme Court, for the second time, has gone beyond its bounds and struck down an...

Other Constitution Columnists

Bill Graves

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law
Noted Constitutional authority John Eidsmoe has written a legal classic on the origins and...

Theodore King

Federal Page for Spring 2017
Mullin Prepares to Break His Three-terms Pledge In 2012, Markwayne Mullin was the best speaker of...

Steve Byas

Cole, Inhofe, Lankford, Russell, Wrong on Syria
It was quite discouraging. Following the decision by President Trump to bomb a country Syria that...

Richard Engle

You Cant Get There from Here
Many of my friends know that from time to time I drive with Uber. I do it mostly late at night on...

Linda Murphy

Supt. Hofmeisters Plan Opposes President Trumps Call for Local Control
Supt. Hofmeisters Plan Opposes President Trumps Call for Local ControlHofmeister has dug in her...

Rep. Jason Murphey

Big Government Groundhog Day
State officials are continuing to consider an array of tax and fee increases. I instinctively know...

John Michener

Fighting Federal Tyranny Requires Enforcing State Sovereignty
Every branch of the federal government is involved in unconstitutional activity. Congress passes...

David Deming

Why the Second Amendment Protects AR-15s
For decades the Federal Judiciary has been trying to interpret the Second Amendment out of the...

Charlie Meadows

Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered into the Agenda of the Education Industry?
Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered into the Agenda of the Education Industry?To be sure, some...

Brandon Dutcher

Oklahomans Say Teachers Should Be Allowed to Vote on Unions
Getting public policy right in the area of education includes respecting teachers and freeing them...

Andrew K. Boyle

HB 1757, SB 691 and the Lot vs Millennials (advantage young people)
We certainly are living in interesting times, in the mode of that famous Chinese curse sort of ways....

In The News

Constitution Staff

Gov. Fallin Signs REAL ID Compliance Bill
On March 2, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1845, the REAL ID compliance legislation. The new...

Constitution Staff

Legislature Loses Conservative Champion in David Brumbaugh
Oklahomans are mourning the passing of State Rep. David Brumbuagh (R-Broken Arrow), one of the great...

Constitution Staff

Special Elections to Fill Legislative Seats
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature are in progress. The vacancies are...

Constitution Staff

2018 Race for Governor
Gov. Mary Fallin, who is now entering the final two years of her second term, is prohibited by term...

Constitution Staff

Bills Move Through Oklahoma Legislature
With the close of the legislative session approaching on May 26, various bills are being considered...

Constitution Columnists

Bill Graves

Historical and Theological Foundations of Law
Noted Constitutional authority John Eidsmoe has written a legal classic on the origins and...

Theodore King

Federal Page for Spring 2017
Mullin Prepares to Break His Three-terms Pledge In 2012, Markwayne Mullin was the best speaker of...

Steve Byas

Cole, Inhofe, Lankford, Russell, Wrong on Syria
It was quite discouraging. Following the decision by President Trump to bomb a country Syria that...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks2010.com - Guthrie, Oklahoma.