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American idiots are completely missing the point of Green Day’s American Idiot

Green Day
(Image credit: Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)

Observing US politics from the (relative) safety of the other side of the world has been a wild ride in recent months. On the day that Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America, we might, perhaps, be witnessing the  dawn of a new era, one in which tolerance, truth, enlightenment and yes, liberty and justice for all, once more come to the forefront of this great, proud nation. 

And then again, maybe not.

In the biggest display of tone deaf misinterpretation this side of Ronald Reagan citing  Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA as a patriotic, chest-pounding celebration of the American Dream, some Republican TikTok users have begun adopting Green Day’s American Idiot as their preferred soundtrack for ‘owning the Libs’, as Donald Trump exits the Oval Office with the worst approval rating of any President in history. The irony here is quite delicious, given that the song, and much of the album which shares it name, was written as a searing indictment of President George Bush and his right wing “redneck agenda”.

You love to see it.

As an example, here’s Candace Kettlehut - a self-identifying Republican - doing her bit for the #MAGA movement. #WakeUp #Patriots indeed…

@ckettle_3

Green Day knew it all along, since 2004! ##trump2020 ##republican ##americaproud ##conservative ##wakeup ##maga ##patriots

♬ American Idiot - Green Day

To be fair, Billie Joe Armstrong has never directly referred to Donald Trump as an “American Idiot”. Instead, Green Day”s frontman has compared the out-going President to Hitler.

“I think that he’s the most divisive leader of a country since Adolf Hitler,” he told Kerrang! “It sounds melodramatic to say it, but living in America, it’s just true.”

“The worst problem I see about Trump is who his followers are,” Armstrong also stated. “I actually feel bad for them, because they’re poor, working-class people who can’t get a leg up. They’re pissed off and he’s preyed on their anger. He just said, ‘You have no options and I’m the only one, and I’m going to take care of it myself.’ I mean, that’s fucking Hitler, man!”

In 2016, at the American Music Awards, Green Day inserted the chant, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” (a reworking of a MDC lyric) into their performance of Bang Bang.

Truly, four years is a long time in politics.