I always loved that song. In terms of writing, this is Arlo's best. (Vocally, he is at his best. The melody line highlights his unusual but strong and appealing voice.) It's an epic. Now for the right who thinks they know what patriotism is, this song tells them that patriotism involves telling the truth.
I never understood why this country dismantled the rail.It seems to me that national rail service would do more to save fossil fuel than fleets of battery powered cars. YEah, we have this false idea of individuality in America but what is individual about millions of people wearing jeans, driving by themselves in millions of cars while listening to the horror that is satellite radio, shopping at chain stores, and watching reality tv at night while eating pre-prepared food? Jesus Christ on a raft.
This song should be part of an American trio that includes Gordon Lightfoot's (ok, I write his name with a bit of shame) The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Paul Simon's I'm Going Off to Look for America which chronicle both a moment in time and a philosophy that should have made this country better than it now is.