Can I Sing, “Kill The Umpire?”

Ah, the great battles of humanity, what can I or can’t I sing before an audience of people. In an age in which thousands of young people are risking their lives in the struggle for human rights, fights still emerge over the words of war. U2 Bono is in the middle of a controversy. His band was in South Africa and a song about resistance was sung. It included the words, “shoot the Boer” which referred to the struggle of black South Africans against the white rule of Afrikaaners who ruled South Africa for decades. Bono argued his Irish uncles sang revolutionary songs which described fighting and killing the Brits who were in their country so what was wrong about a song dealing with the fight for human dignity in South Africa. Heck, I was raised in a union home in which we sang songs about Joe Hill and how the rotten, dirty bosses killed him. I was raised to sing about the human struggle against forces of oppression. The words were strong and often filled with anger, the intention was emotional, rather than to have anyone actually go outside and kill a wealthy person.

Up the Irish!

Up the Working Class?

Down with the bosses!

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