During the lastest Iran War Scare, a number of bloggers have indirectly alluded to the 1979 “novelty” song, “Bomb Iran,” by Vince Vance and the Valiants. For those of you too young to remember this jingo-pop classic (much beloved of “wacky” drive-time disc jockeys during the Iranian Hostage Crisis), here are the full lyrics.Bomb Iran (to the tune of “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys)Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB IRAN! Let’s take a stand, bomb Iran. Our country’s got a feelin’ Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Went to a mosque, gonna throw some rocks. Tell the Ayatollah…”Gonna put you in a box!” Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Our country’s got a feelin’ Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Ol’ Uncle Sam’s gettin’ pretty hot. Time to turn Iran into a parking lot. Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Call the volunteers; call the bombadiers; Call the financiers, better get their ass in gear. Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Our country’s got a feelin’ Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Call on our allies to cut off their supplies, Get our hands untied, and bring em’ back alive. Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Our country’s got a feelin’ Really hit the ceilin’, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB IRAN!Let’s take a stand, bomb Iran. Our people you been stealin’ Now it’s time for keelin’, bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. In terms of compelling political lyrics, it sure ain’t Dylan, eh? Predictably, ol’ Vince and the boys did a 2002 retake of this song, redubbed “Bomb Iraq,” which I never heard but that probably made a few Clear Channel playlists. And to show that this band’s strange connection to the right-wing zeitgeist wasn’t limited to foreign affairs, Vince Vance and the Valiants penned a song in the 90s entitled “I Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans.” Well, no, you didn’t really know what that means, did you, Vince?I used to have a theory, back before the WWF turned rasslin’ into a slick entertainment empire, that you could get a good insight into American fears by checking out the latest villains of the pro wrestling circuit. When I was a child growing up in the Jim Crow Deep South, the reigning bad guy was a Yankee named Freddie Blassie (later the protaganist of Andy Kaufmann’s peculiar takeoff on My Dinner With Andre, entitled My Breakfast With Blassie), who would stand on the ropes at Southern wrestling venues and call the howling crowds “a bunch of grit-eaters.” Later came the pseudo-Commie wrestler Sputnik Monroe. During the 70s there were “Arab” rasslers, and in the 80s, various Asians.But jingo-pop has always produced a more efficient glimpse into American hostilities. The early 1980s-era tensions with Libya generated one of the best, or worst examples: a “song” called “Pluck Khadaffy Duck”, by someone named Roger Hallmark. I can’t find the lyrics, but I do recall from its high popularity on Atlanta stations at the time that after several verses of chortling about what “Uncle Sam” was going to do to kill Libyans, Hallmark, in his best redneck voice, concluded: “I ain’t afraid ‘a no Chicken Shi-ite,” exhibiting a bit of confusion about the religious orientation of Libya.All in all, this is a bit of Americana I would be happy to leave behind, if it didn’t keep coming back.
TDS Strategy Memos
Latest Research from:
By Ed Kilgore
June 2: Rise of Religious “Nones” a Mixed Blessing for Democrats
Since I’m always standing at the intersection of politics and religion, I’m always interested in fresh data on the subject, and wrote some up at New York:
One of the big predictions in American politics lately, of infinite comfort to embattled progressives, is that the increasing number of religiously non-affiliated Americans, particularly among younger generations, will spur a steady leftward drift. Perhaps that will mean, we are told, that Democrats will be able to build their elusive permanent majority on the grounds of abandoned houses of worship. Or perhaps, some hope, the religious roots of today’s Republican extremism will begin to wither away, allowing American conservatives to resemble their less intemperate distant cousins in other advanced democracies, ending the culture wars.
Both propositions may be true. But it’s a mistake to treat so-called nones as an undifferentiated secularist mass, as Eastern Illinois University political scientist Ryan Burge explains with some fresh data. He notes that “in 2022, 6% of folks were atheists, 6% were agnostics, and another 23% were nothing in particular.” This large bloc of “nothing in particular” voters may lean left, all other things being equal, but they tend to be as uninterested in politics as in religion, making them a less than ideal party constituency. He explains:
“To put this in context, in 2020 there were nearly as many nothing in particulars who said that they voted for Trump as there were atheists who said that they voted for Biden.
“While atheists are the most politically active group in the United States in terms of things like donating money and working for a campaign, the nothing in particulars are on another planet entirely.
“They were half as likely to donate money to a candidate compared to atheists. They were half as likely to put up a political sign. They were less than half as likely to contact a public official.
“This all points to the same conclusion: they don’t vote in high numbers. So, while there may be a whole bunch of nothing in particulars, that may not translate to electoral victories.”
As Burge mentioned, however, there is a “none” constituency that leans much more strongly left and is very engaged politically — indeed, significantly more engaged than the white evangelicals we’re always hearing about. That would be atheists. In a separate piece, he gets into the numbers:
“The group that is most likely to contact a public official? Atheists.
“The group that puts up political signs at the highest rates? Atheists.
“HALF of atheists report giving to a candidate or campaign in the 2020 presidential election cycle.
“The average atheist is about 65% more politically engaged than the average American.”
And as Thomas Edsall points out in a broader New York Times column on demographic voting patterns, atheists really are a solid Democratic constituency, supporting Biden over Trump in 2020 by an incredible 87 to 9 percent margin. It’s worth noting that the less adamant siblings of the emphatically godless, agnostics, also went for Biden by an 80 to 17 percent margin and are more engaged than “nothing in particulars” as well.
So should Democrats target and identify with atheists? It’s risky. Despite the trends, there are still three times as many white evangelicals as atheists in the voting population. And there are a lot more religious folk of different varieties, some of whom have robust Democratic voting minorities or even majorities who probably wouldn’t be too happy with their party showing disdain for religion entirely. There’s also a hunt-where-the-ducks-fly factor: If atheists and agnostics already participate in politics and lean strongly toward Democrats, how much attention do they really need? There’s a reason that politicians, whatever their actual religious beliefs or practices, overwhelmingly report some religious identity. Congress lost its one professed atheist when California representative Pete Stark lost a Democratic primary in 2012; the only professed agnostic in Congress is Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, whose political future isn’t looking great.
It’s a complicated picture. Conservative columnist Ross Douthat argues that American liberalism’s increasing identification with secularism is keeping a lot of conservative Christians from politically expressing their reservations about Donald Trump. And religious people beyond the ranks of conservative faith communities may feel cross-pressured if Democratic politicians begin to reflect the liberal intelligentsia’s general assumption that religion is little more than a reactionary habit rooted in superstition and doomed to eventual extinction.
Perhaps it makes more sense for Democratic atheists and agnostics to spend time educating and mobilizing the “nothing in particular” Americans who already outnumber white evangelicals and ought to be concerned about how they’ll be treated if a Christian-nationalist Gilead arises. Only then can “nones” become the salvation for the Democratic Party.