The citizens of Pensacola, Florida recently took a break from buying flip-flops and dolphin keychains to watch little girls in headbands perform a live rendition of Donald Trump’s “Freedom Kids.” Watching this rousing anthem about the fun of jingoism gives one the feeling of, as in a Haruki Murakami novel, being transported into a parallel universe via song. But what universe are these girls weaving with their words?
The beginning seems to be a joyful performance of “Trump-isms.” The little girl in the front, let’s call her Brenda, slaps her forehead in frustration at the cowards who apologize for freedom. The three girls mimic answering a phone, which is what you should do when freedom rings. “Come on boys, take ’em down!” Brenda shouts.
Then we ease out of the Trump-isms and into the actual song. It’s a revisit of “Over There,” a 1917 song used to recruit men to sign up for WWI and WWII. (Fun fact: The original song begins with the lyric, “Johnny, get your gun.”)
This version has been rewritten for an age when freedom rings not from a bell, but from a cell phone. “Over here. Over there. Freedom and liberty everywhere,” the girls sing. (Fun fact: Freedom and liberty are the same thing, “freedom” is just Germanic and “liberty” is Latin.)
As the girls sing, they goof around a bit, doing a speedbag dance with their hands and, at one point, picking up Brenda, but not very high. The crowd, however, seems to feel that they picked her up high enough.
“Inspire proudly freedom to the world,” they sing, shooting their arms up like cheerleaders for white America. English teachers would scoff at this awkward insertion of an adverb, but is there any other way to inspire freedom to the world than proudly? Donald Trump does not seem concerned about grammar. This is further solidified when the girls sing “Ameritude!” and clarify that it means “American pride.” Will Trump be a Shakespeare/Tyra Banks type who likes to add words to our English vocabulary? Duh-itude.
There is definite talent in these three girls. The one on the left, let’s call her Mary Sue, is a bit of an iCarly-type. I could see her working this song to pen a deal with the Disney channel. She’s older than the other two, and there are moments when she appears a bit self-conscious about what she’s doing. I wonder if this will make her more popular at school, or if she will get bullied because of this.
So why did Donald Trump dust off this old war call song? Is he hinting that he plans to start WWIII? Here are the original lyrics:
Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware –
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over, over there.
The original song is definitely a warning to other countries that the U.S. is coming. In the context of WWII, this song is less eery. The U.S. was going to help take down the Nazis. But what would it mean today? Does Donald Trump plan to spread freedom “here and there” in a bellicose manner? Does he have colonialism on the mind? Does he want us to call him Dear Leader and put speakers in our houses so he can talk to us all day? Does he want to start his own T.V. station full of beauty pageants and make Spanish-langauge channel Univision illegal? All signs point to yes. Let’s all be very afraid, and remember to vote.