You are obviously very passionate about these lyrics, so I wanted to contribute to your thread, and I hope that I don't piss you off too bad with what I say.
I know who Merle Haggard is, and I have even heard this song.
It's a good song, but other than the well deserved salute to our service men, I just do not see where it really contains anything all that profound. To me, the song evokes images of barfights more than anything else.
I just do not get that riled up when I hear it. The hypothetical "squirrely guy" surely exists, but I am sure that we had people like that during the entire history of the country, including the revolution. They do not bother me. (too much)
It seems to me the song basically says that if you talk bad about U.S. policy, express reluctance to defend our shores, or critisize our lifestyle, Merle wants to kick your ass. That's fine for him, but I just do not feel that way. I personally identify much more with Lee Greenwood's famous anthem.
Remember right after 911, when everybody had their flags flying? I worked with a couple guys that just went insane with the flag thing for about four months. Full sized flags on the pick ups, different flag shirt everyday, you name it. So, that's cool I guess, but it was gone as fast as it came, and they never did it a day in their lives before or since. Also, they acted like asses the entire time, talking down to everyone like they were the only ones that knew or cared what was happening. That's not so cool.
They weren't being patriots, they were participating in what I call "nationalistic hooliganism." By that I mean that they were like those soccer hooligan guys, all worked up because their team was in the finals. They weren't doing it because they loved America, not really. They would say that, but the truth is they were just having a great time being wound up and getting to bad mouth a bunch of people and sound like heroes for doing it.
I know this because these were the same guys that did not know our history, did not know the constitution, and could not carry on anything like an intelligent conversation about even basic issues. They would have done the same thing no matter what country they lived in, they don't love America because of what she stands for, or gives us, or gives the rest of the world. They just support her with a fervor born of ignorance because they happen to live here. If they lived in Iran, they would be just as happy to burn those flags that they had on their pickups. It wasn't true patriotism, it was simply self-serving nationalism.
Why am I telling you all this? Just so that you will maybe understand what I mean when I say that Merle's song makes me think of nationalistic hooliganism, not patriotism. It' totally fine with me if you get something better out of it.
And yes, I am a American Patriot, I know our constitiution, and I very proudly fly our great nation's flag every day. (I did before 911, too)