Woody Guthrie’s family unhappy with Republican bill named after his classic song

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The family of the late Woody Guthrie is not happy that Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has used the title of one of his classic folk songs as inspiration for a bill he’s proposed.

He has dubbed his bill, which would prevent anyone associated with the Chinese Communist Party from owning farmland in America, the This Land Is Our Land Act. Guthrie’s daughter Nora Guthrie has a problem with “This Land is Your Land” being used for something that doesn’t mirror the values expressed in the tune.

“In this particular case, the co-opting or parodying of the lyric by those not aligned with Woody’s lyrics – i.e. misrepresentation by autocrats, racists, white nationalists, anti-labor, insurrectionists, etc. – is not condoned,” Nora wrote in an email to The Kansas City Star. “We do not consider Josh Hawley in any way a representative of Woody’s values therefore we would never endorse or approve of his reference to Woody’s lyrics.”

She says of the song, “It is more of a vision of democracy. The song simply reiterates the concept, ‘By the people, for the people.’”

In response to a question about the song, Hawley’s rep said the title shouldn’t be the story, rather the bill itself, noting, “Josh’s bill protects America’s food chain, farmers, and national security – that’s the real story The Star should cover.”

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