Merle Haggard – Where’s All The Freedom?

While America fought to “liberate” Iraq, country singer Merle Haggard sang in 2005 about the incongruity of having less freedom and opportunity in his homeland. This freedom is about economic opportunity: people not having the liberty to afford gas in their vehicles… making it hard to go out and buy necessities like groceries. We may better consider this related to equality of opportunity, and a comment on class and economic mobility. Still, Haggard maybe felt that while so much energy was being expended to extend freedom in Iraq, people in his own country were paid short shrift. It is a sense of freedom as in being able to do something, unimpeded by barriers beyond one’s control to remove.

The reference to police being all over Washington state could be more in line with concerns about declining personal freedom. Perhaps the location is referring to a specific incident, although the most high profile protest in Seattle, over World Trade Organization talks, occurred much earlier, in 1999. This concerned trade liberalization, not war.  The geographic reference could simply be that “battle” sort of rhymes with “Seattle”?

Whatever, this is a workmanlike country addition to many other protest songs about Iraq and US foreign policy.


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