Ink Out Loud: Hey, hey, my, my |

Ink Out Loud: Hey, hey, my, my

Donald Trump does not impress me as the kind of guy who is aligned with Neil Young’s world views. In fact, Donald Trump does not impress me at all.

Without permission, Trump used “Rockin’ in the Free World” to kickoff his presidential campaign.

Young issued a statement via Facebook this week, which read (in part):

“… My song ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ was used in an announcement for a U.S. presidential candidate without my permission. A picture of me with this candidate was also circulated in conjunction with this announcement, but it was a photograph taken during a meeting when I was trying to raise funds for Pono, my online high-resolution music service. Music is a universal language. So I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don’t share my beliefs. But had I been asked to allow my music to be used for a candidate, I would have said no. I am Canadian and I don’t vote in the United States, but more importantly, I don’t like the current political system in the USA and some other countries. Increasingly democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests. The money needed to run for office, the money spent on lobbying by special interests, the ever-increasing economic disparity and the well-funded legislative decisions all favor corporate interests over the people. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling is proof of this corruption, as well as the proposed trade deals, which would further compromise our rights. These corporations were originally created to serve us, but if we don’t appropriately prioritize, they will destroy us. Corporations don’t have children. They don’t have feelings or soul. They don’t depend on uncontaminated water, clean air or healthy food to survive. They are beholden to one thing: the bottom line. I choose to speak truth to this economic power. When I speak out on corporations hurting the common man or the environment or other species, I expect a well-financed disinformation campaign to be aimed my way …”

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, “Candidates are not legally required to get a musician’s permission to use a song at a live political event, as long as they pay the public performance royalty to performance rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI.”

With that said, I think this was an overtly sneaky move on Trump’s part, which might provide preview and insight into Trump’s character, or lack thereof.

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is a song written by a humanitarian and an environmentalist. It’s a raw and rare depiction of the troubles of the world.

Each time I hear Young’s lyrics I am brought to tears: “I see a woman in the night with a baby in her hand, under an old street light, near a garbage can. Now she puts the kid away and she’s gone to get a hit. She hates her life and what she’s done to it. There’s one more kid who will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool. Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”

Though I did not think it was possible, I have less respect for Donald Trump than I did a week ago. “Hey, hey, my, my.”

Mandy Feder is the Managing Editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at 530-542-8006 or

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