The Story Behind The Song
I think we should go out there and stomp 'em;
As long as you don't send my boy.
Who are they to think that it's their own sovereign nation?
Don't they know who's got the toys?
We stand for good and what's right,
We stand for freedom & might.
'Cause it's just that simple: Number One has to fight.
And I will dress all in yellow 'til the sheep go home
I'm an armchair patriot.
Don't try to talk to me of history.
I don't want to think back that far.
Don't make me think of consequences.
Don't put restrictions on my car.
Damn right, I'm better than you.
I'm wearing red, white & blue
And we're always the good guys, no matter what we do
And I'll be sure to hate my neighbor 'til the sheep go home
I'm an armchair patriot.
No, I didn't answer when I was called.
I had more important things to do.
I normally don't pay much mind attention, anyhow.
What I think doesn't matter to you.
But if you can grab me with a slogan or a flag,
I'll be rabid for a week or two.
Don't try to talk to me of community.
My time, my cash, remain my own
You won't get nothing more from me.
This stuff is bred in the bone.
'Cause only the strong will survive
And that's who should be alive.
I'll just take care of my own, that's how America thrives.
And I'll wait in two-fisted honor 'til the sheep go home
I'm an armchair patriot.
©2004 by Kristin Carole Hall & Elizabeth Harvey-Forsythe & Purple Cat Music. All Rights Reserved.
Armchair Patriot Back Story
"Vote your conscience, not your fears."
updated September 2005
The original explaination for this song began with the sentence:
"And isn't this a song that can easily be misconstrued?"
And, sure enough, it was.
No, I am not trying to channel Phil Ochs. I would not dare to presume that I could.
Instead, I felt the sadness, anger & downright disbelief that so many felt
when I saw Americans becoming so cruel to one another simply because they disagreed about
a political issue. This song is not about spoofing those who disagree with me, it is about
capturing words overheard in diners, bars & corner stores as America marched inexorably to
war in Iraq.
Carol Lay actually captured this
far better in her 2003 cartoon entitled
"The Fear", which echoes the .sig line I have quoted above. After the 2004 election, I changed my .sig from the above line to "Act upon your conscience, not your fears." (My current .sig reads "When tempted to fight fire with fire, try to remember that the pros always use water.")
But I digress...
In a way, it is somewhat sad that this song had to be written at all. A variant of the chorus is how this song first appeared: "...and I will dress all in yellow 'til the sheep come home. I'm an Armchair Patriot." But it was 1991, the First Gulf War was rolling over Kuwait & southern Iraq, & I was worried that people might not realize that the "sheep" and the "Armchair Patriots" were the jingoistic chest thumpers that abounded and instead would think I was bashing the troops. Although this wasn't the case, I didn't have the confidence to finish the song. So, away went the little piece of paper into The Box.
Fast forward to early 2001. I found the piece of paper and thought, "Wow! Am I ever glad that this is irrelevant! Am I ever glad that Americans don't think like that anymore!" Back it went in The Box. That summer I re-read Berke Breathed's books and marveled at how anachronistic & dated they seemed.
By 2003, however, we had completely squandered the world's good will, Breathed's books once again accurately echoed what was going on in my country and I was Mad As Hell about it. When a friend told me the story of how a woman putting a ribbon around a tree verbally attacked her - when the friend had not done anything more than look at her while she was doing so - and I overheard a woman in a bar say, "Isn't it terrible what they are doing to our boys over there? We should kill all of them." (Umm...hello? We are in THEIR country, after all!) I dug around until I found this bit and finished this song. My producer suggested the perfect grammatical fix for the "sheep come home" quandary and there we are.
So, what is the song about? No, it is not about the war. It is not about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is not about Liberals vs. Conservatives. It IS about hypocrisy. It IS about the kind of people who profess to love America - while hating a majority of the people in it. It IS about being willing to send other people's children off to do the dirty work of war - when you were unwilling to serve yourself. It IS about jumping on bandwagons to scream about how this country is going to Hell in a handbasket - but you don't vote, volunteer or do anything to help your neighbors or community. In short, it IS about Armchair Patriots everywhere.
Real Americans don't hate. Real Americans are not intolerant. Real Americans give back. Be a Real American & not an Armchair Patriot.