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An evening pause: Someone who did not live through the 1960s cannot imagine the violent reactions to this song when it came out in 1969. It was either loved or hated, expressing the polarization of the times. Sadly, not much has changed in half a century, other than the poles have grown farther apart, with the side Haggard is gently criticizing here so filled with hate that it would not surprise me if they would to try to prevent the song’s performance if someone wanted to sing it on a college campus today.
Hat tip Diane Zimmerman, in honor of Merle Haggard’s passing last week.