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If You Look Closely, Lady Gaga's Halftime Show Seemed Very, Very Political

The message was there.

Last night Lady Gaga blew the roof off the Super Bowl halftime show performance in Houston.

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Prior to the show, there had been a lot of talk whether or not the notoriously outspoken Gaga would make a political statement during the show. / Via @ladygaga

Ultimately, she said she wouldn't be speaking about President Donald Trump and would refrain from "divisive" talk.

Her performance seemed to go off without a hitch — so much so that she received praise from BOTH prominent liberals and conservatives, some of whom viewed the performance as apolitical.

I'm one of 100 million #SuperBowl fans that just went #Gaga for the Lady, & her message to all of us.

Wasn't sure what to expect with everything going on. But that was quite a show by @ladyGaga one of best #SuperBowl shows I can remember

Incredible performance from my friend @LadyGaga. You amaze me — and not just onstage. Proud to work with you to end…

Lady Gaga left politics out but added some high octane talent. She needed to drop the mic. She crushed it.

Incredible performance by @ladygaga #PepsiHalftime #SuperBowl

But if you look closer, Lady Gaga's performance seemed very, very progressive. Let's take a closer look.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

A quick note: Everything here is merely conjecture. We don't know whether or not Lady Gaga made these choices consciously.

In her intro, Gaga sings "This Land Is Your Land." As Twitter user @marcmonster pointed out, when she sings the verse "this land is your land," the red drones behind her light up...

NFL / Via

Red as in red states.

...and when she sings "this land is my land" all the blue drones light up.

NFL / Via

Again, as in blue states.

"This Land Is Your Land" is also a very, very interesting song choice to open the performance in light of recent political events.

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The song was written by folk musician Woody Guthrie in the 1940s as a response to the song "God Bless America." Basically, it envisions America as a land of tolerance and acceptance. You can read a full history of the song here. Twitter user @jpbrammer also wrote an excellent thread on this history of the song and Guthrie's staunch anti-fascist views (as you can see in the clip above, he literally wrote "This Machine Kills Fascists" on his guitar — not subtle AT ALL).

And make of it what you will, but the original version of the song also had some interesting lyrics that didn't make the cut to a recorded version:

"There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.

The sign was painted, said 'Private Property.'

But on the backside, it didn't say nothing.

This land was made for you and me.

"One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple,

by the relief office I saw my people.

As they stood hungry,

I stood there wondering if God blessed America for me."


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Oh, and to top it all off, Guthrie had a LEGENDARY loathing for Donald Trump's father, Fred.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

You should definitely check out the New York Times' look into this. Basically, Guthrie (who was a tenant of Trump's) wrote extensively about his hatred for the landlord and the "Racial Hate" of "Old Man Trump."

Next, just the fact that she sang "Born This Way" also was a very, very big deal.

With an audience of hundreds of millions watching worldwide (not to mention the fact Vice President Mike Pence, who's had significant anti-LGBT views in the past, was in the building), Lady Gaga sang about LGBT rights, the rights of people of color, and other marginalized people. Really, when was the last time someone mentioned the rights of trans people? I'll wait (USA Today says it's the first time). This is not to mention the fact that singing a song about LGBT pride on the world's biggest stage matters for representation (especially to queer youth), as Billboard pointed out in its review.

Finally, during her performance of "Million Reasons," Gaga went out onto the field and embraced a fan — while they were surrounded by people holding up torches like the Statue of Liberty.

NFL / Via

Written on the base of the Statue of Liberty? The sonnet "The New Colossus," which includes the following verses:

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

She may have not done it overtly, but Lady Gaga had SOMETHING to say with her Super Bowl performance.

Tom Pennington / Getty Images