Sometimes the morning headlines make me smile—not often these days but sometimes—like today. Bob Dylan awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. How great is that? After I write this post I will immediately order his book, and my friend and I already have tickets for next week’s concert (my first Dylan concert actually). My personal award however goes to Dylan for With God on Our Side, the classic, all-time best description of America’s doctrine of Manifest Destiny.


I used With God on Our Side to teach my Junior High classes in American history during my brief stint as a history teacher. And is there another song as great as Blowin’ in the Wind? Or The Times They Are a-Changin’? They represent such an amazing time in my life and my friends’ lives…I am just so happy about this…we must keep thinking about the good people and songs and books out there or we’ll get mired way too deep in the sleazy side of things, i.e. politics. Maybe buried deep in all this present badness is something good—maybe not—but we’ll always have Dylan to remind us ‘the times CAN change.’

Congratulations Bob Dylan—born in Duluth, raised in Hibbing—my home territory. I’m not sure he liked it a lot over on the Iron Range but home’s home and he could not possibly have turned out this brilliantly without some Minnesota connection.


With God on Our Side

Bob Dylan

Oh my name it ain’t nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh, the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh, the country was young
With God on its side

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War, too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I was made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side

The Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now, too
Have God on their side

I’ve learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of chemical dust
If fire them, we’re forced to
Then fire, them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side

Through many a dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ was
Betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

With God on Our Side lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.


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