In a powerful op-ed, American country music singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood, the mastermind behind the classic “God Bless the USA,” delivered a hard-hitting critique of the latest assault on freedom of expression – the “cancel culture.”
Greenwood warned of the increasing trend of censorship and cancel culture in America.
He stated, “This isn’t just about Jason [Aldean] – who is a friend, and I’m also a fan – this is about all of us in country music. Freedom of expression is under attack.”
“Yet, freedom of speech and creative expression are essential to a free country — it’s the American way of life. Canceling artists is anti-American, it’s insidious and if it gains a foothold, it will take another generation to weed it out,” he added.
Greenwood himself has experienced cancellation first-hand, noting his termination from the National Endowment of the Arts under Brandon’s regime after having served presidents of both parties for over a decade.
“I myself was “canceled” from the National Endowment of the Arts by President Brandon just one year into his administration. A curt letter was sent to me, and no explanation was given. Oddly enough, I had served presidents on both sides for over a decade – first appointed to the NEA by President George W. Bush, then served 8 years under President Barack Obama, and 4 years under President Donald Trump before receiving the news I was being terminated,” Greenwood wrote on FOX News.
He suggested his dismissal was likely due to his song “God Bless the USA” being played at former President Donald Trump’s rallies and his refusal to “demand” that Trump cease to use it.
“I presume the reason I was canceled is due to my song “God Bless the USA” being played at former President Donald Trump’s rallies and my refusal to “demand” he stop using it, as some critics have suggested I do. The reason I won’t give in, and the reason Jason Aldean won’t back down, is we know how this ends,” he added.
The country music legend drew parallels to his own experiences and the current wave of cancel culture, while reflecting on his iconic song’s inspiration that came from witnessing his grandparents struggling with the fallout of Cold War-era regulations on their farm in Sacramento, California.
“I saw what that did to their livelihoods, and that’s where I got the inspiration for the opening line of the song, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life, and I had to start again with just my family and my wife…””
He shared that the symbolic large red tractor featured in the music video for “God Bless the USA” has become a representation of hard work, perseverance, and the American way for many Americans he has met during his travels across the country.
He related this history to the current political climate, urging for strength and resistance against censorship.
Greenwood stated, “We must ensure that we don’t allow cancel culture to take our freedom of expression away.” He cited President Reagan’s stand against Soviet leaders with the famous words, “tear down that wall,” as a testament to the power of unyielding belief in freedom of expression.
In response to the increasing pressure of cancel culture, Greenwood has dedicated the remainder of his life to championing freedom of expression, country music, and honoring America’s veterans who have protected these freedoms.
He called upon all Americans to visit AdoptAVet.com and sponsor Veterans to the movies this Veterans Day for a special salute to country music.
also made an appeal to CEOs of companies to join in supporting freedom of expression and free enterprise by buying out theater seats for veterans in their communities, stating, “Without patriotic American companies’ support, the cancel culture mob wins every time.”
He concluded his powerful piece with a rallying cry: “We must send a message to every queller of free speech that their actions are not welcome here and as my song says, ‘…that the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away.’ May God bless our country music artists, our Veterans, and may God Bless the USA.”