The U.S. vs. John Lennon commentary by Jenna Johnson
In response to the branding of leftist radicals by government officials as disloyal and â€œtraitors,â€? I believe that doing so was really a sign of fear by the government. John Lennon was a good example of such a so-called â€œtraitorâ€? to the government during the 60â€™s. As the John Street article describes, government officials were among â€œthose who fear for musicâ€™s effects, for whom the politics lie in its ability to exercise power over its listeners, to shape and influence thoughts and actions.â€? As far as free speech in music is concerned, I think there should be some kind of line drawn, but I do not think that John Lennon crossed that line, or was being disloyal. He was simply trying to get American people to realize that they had a rightful voice and power in promoting peace, and he did that in a way that was nonviolent.
Because Lennon and other musical artists were so famous during the Vietnam War era, they became extremely influential to the people, which really caused the U.S. government to feel threatened. As the Perone reading states, on Lennonâ€™s and Yoko Onoâ€™s album â€˜Sometime in New York City,â€™ Onoâ€™s song â€œWeâ€™re All Waterâ€? contains â€œcontroversial juxtapositionsâ€? of â€œwell-known figures such as the Pop and Charles Manson, President Richard Nixon and the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao... ." The government found lyrics the included ideas such as these to be a threat to patriotic thought and national stability, because they were coming from the voices of pop culture and directly related to current political situations. Specifically in John Lennonâ€™s case, the government tried to mitigate this threat by deporting him, but it was unsuccessful. Lennon mentioned in the film that even if he were deported, it wouldnâ€™t stop him from voicing his opinion and singing the same songs of peace anyways. If anything, Lennonâ€™s deportation would probably have brought more attention to him from the American people.