By: Ronald Kessler
If songs extolling the virtues of America make you swell with pride, you will like this song. If you recoil at people who have nothing good to say about America, you will like it even better.
Jon David, the writer of the song “American Heart,” has sung it at tea party rallies across the country. Yet few know that “Jon David” is a pseudonym and that a remark by a young liberal woman inspired the lyrics.
You see, David is a Hollywood screenwriter, director, and songwriter who is a conservative.
Like those in Hollywood blacklisted because Sen. Joseph McCarthy accused them of being spies and communists, David fears he would jeopardize his livelihood if the Hollywood establishment knew his political leanings. But, at a party in Venice Beach, Calif., David had an encounter that compelled him to write the song, which begins:
The genesis of the song goes to last year, when Andrew Breitbart asked David to write for Breitbart’s Big Hollywood website. David decided to write a humorous column, ”My Weekly Date With a Liberal.” The column — which actually appears every few weeks — recounts his meetings or dates with liberal women and their reactions after he reveals he is a conservative.
As part of what he calls his “research,” David, a handsome man in his 30s, began attending a range of Los Angeles area parties. One was in Venice Beach, Calif.
“When you are invited to a barbecue in Venice Beach, you pretty much know what you are getting into,” David tells Newsmax. “If you are a conservative, you really have to keep it quiet or you are going to get attacked.”
In this case, a 27-year-old woman at the party had heard that David might lean to the right.
“I barely got in the door, and she was verbally assaulting me,” David says. “‘How can you be a Republican? How can you be a conservative?’”
The woman “just gave me a laundry list of everything that was wrong with the country,” David recalls. “I mean, I’m not a historian, but she said that we lost the Cold War, and I’m pretty sure that that’s not true. A lot of it was about George W. Bush.”
David decided he would just let her talk.
“I was just watching her mouth move and dodging the spit particles and waiting to ask this one question that I couldn’t wait to ask once I realized what I was dealing with,” David says. “Finally, when she got done, I asked her one question: ‘Do you like this country?’”
“No,” the young woman said.
“I was just completely blown away by that,” David says. “I have a lot of Democratic friends, a lot of liberal friends. I have no problem with where they are ideologically. That’s what makes this country great. You can have a debate, and you can be friends with people that don’t share your points of view.”
Finally, David asked her, “Do you even want to be here?”
“No,” she said.
“Is there a better country?” David asked.
“No,” she replied.
David figured the woman was so consumed with hatred that she did not realize her answer was illogical.
That evening, David went home and picked up his guitar. Within an hour, he had written “American Heart.”
David has played the song at various tea party events, including the National Tea Party Convention where Sarah Palin spoke in Nashville.
When he performs, he wears a baseball cap and sunglasses to protect his identity.
Versions of the song appear on YouTube with photos selected by others of stirring moments in American history and symbols of America. While the song is not yet on CD, David sells a downloadable version on his website www.AmericanHeartMusic.com.
As he once again asks for reassurance from me that I will not reveal his identity if I discover it, David explains his decision to use a pseudonym. Hollywood depends on relationships, he says.
“So if you are a conservative, you have to make the conscious choice, whether or not you want to be vocal about it and risk that you will lose relationships and you will lose work,” he says. “It is such a venomous environment out there that it is almost like a reverse McCarthyism.” That is ironic, David points out.
“Hollywood is a town that couldn’t benefit more from the First Amendment in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression, yet it cannot tolerate a conservative ideology,” David says.
David remembers the first time he played the song at a rally. He looked out at the crowd waving American flags.
“I saw people expressing so much pride in the country,” he says. “I went, Wow — I can use whatever creative skills I have to do something that is more noble than the self-serving goals of the people who come to Hollywood: that is to get as much money, get the hot girl, and get a great house.”
David may not have been a hit in Venice Beach, but for those of us who recognize how lucky we are to live in America, his song strikes a deep chord. And for that, we do not apologize.