“Politicians once again choose Springsteen songs that don’t mean quite what they think they mean.” That’s the observation from a friend who heard “We Take Care of Our Own” immediately after President Obama’s reëlection victory speech.

The song has been called a “bitter anthem,” and features lyrics such as “I been stumbling on good hearts turned to stone / The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone.” It’s skeptical about whether we’re living up to Lincoln’s American dream of charity for all. Perhaps the people responsible for choosing the music, like many listeners, are more interested in the upbeat chorus than the nuanced verses.

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