Joe Scarborough Releases Antiwar Song Days Before 9/11 Anniversary
Days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough released an antiwar song featuring powerful images of that horrible attack on our nation along with a message to bring our soldiers home from our current incursions.
The music video "Reason To Believe" was aired on Thursday's "Morning Joe," and I caught up with the host by phone shortly after the show's conclusion (video follows with highlights along with commentary from Scarborough and me):
As the video begins, a woman answers a phone giving her the horrible news that her husband - and father of her son - has died in the Twin Towers.
Scarborough sings, "In the flash of an hour, watching dreams fall from towers, all I once knew came tumbling down."
What immediate follows along with the song are still pictures from that awful day guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye.
From there, the images turn to Iraq and Afghanistan, as the boy seen earlier with the widow has now grown up and enlisted.
Scarborough sings, "In an endless war, tell me please how many more have to die, before my sweet boy comes home."
The video ends with the soldier returning to his widowed mother as Scarborough sings, "At the end of the hour, when I'm drained of all power, I still find a reason to believe."
To be sure, the timing of this music video will likely raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle. As such, I chatted with Scarborough by phone shortly after "Morning Joe" concluded Thursday.
He told me that he's been writing songs since he was thirteen, and that composing has been an important part of his life. This was one of roughly 300 to 400 he's crafted.
"Reason To Believe" was written ten years ago shortly after the towers came down. He was with his family, and composing this was one of the ways he "coped" with the tragedy.
The original tune was more optimistic: he had a "reason to believe" America would get through this stronger than ever. As the tenth anniversary approached, he played it a few weeks ago, and thought it was time to release it to the public.
"Now things are not as optimistic," he told me, "because of two wars and a muddled foreign policy."
To make his point stronger, he chose a country/folk sound which really isn't his type of music. He's a Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello guy.
"But this was more Americana," he said.
Although he knows he's going to take heat from the right and the left, he doesn't see this as an antiwar song or political in any way.
"Democrats and Republicans alike have all been touched by this," he said. "Liberals will be critical because they'll say I should have been against both wars from the start. Meanwhile, the neocons will be critical because they don't want to leave."
He thought a moment and continued, "I have yet to find people in mid-America - liberals or conservatives - that think we should be spending $2 billion a week to rebuild Afghanistan."
This might be true, but folks on both sides of the aisle are going to question the timing no matter what his intention.
This will certainly be true for conservatives who already doubt Scarborough's ideological bona fides. A song like this gives them more evidence that he's just a Republican in Name Only, especially given how the media are likely to receive this piece.
The perilously liberal Huffington Post has already written about it:
Though his face never appears in the video, Scarborough's song resonates partly because he's the one sending the message. It says something about the antiwar canon of this generation that a conservative has been one of the most vocal critics of America's wars.
Actually, if the Post was paying attention, there have been prominent conservatives - including George Will - that have been requesting our departure from Afghanistan for quite some time.
But the larger point is how left-wing publications and outlets like HuffPo will likely use this song to bash the policies of the previous administration - as if they need any more fodder for that.
With a critical election nearing, should such a prominent right-leaning voice be giving critics of conservatives and the Tea Party any more ammunition?
This is especially concerning as Scarborough's song is destined to get far more liberal attention.
As I spoke to him, he and cohost Mika Brzezinski were on their way to ABC's "The View" where Scarborough will sing "Reason To Believe" for the first time in public in front of the gals sitting on their couch.
This will surely win him the adoration of Joy and Whoopi.
A star is born.
Exit question: Do you see this as an antiwar song or heartfelt sentiments from someone that initially saw these incursions as just but thinks it's time for them to end?