As overt as The Killers are in calling attention to the systemic social issues, they don’t necessarily offer solutions. I think part of this has to do with the fact that these societal problems are systemic. Racism and xenophobia are somewhat ingrained in our culture at this point, and there are really no simple solutions. The Killers touch on a number of issues, from gun control to mass incarceration to racial profiling to the crisis at the border. Each one is clearly and plainly identified by lead singer Brandon Flowers. 

However, when speaking about the issue of immigration, Flowers is not so clear and plain. I think this has a lot to do with how the crisis fits into the title and chorus of the song. He sings that the wall at the border is “High enough to keep all those filthy hands off, Of our hopes and our dreams”. The “land of the free” refrain is sung ironically, pointing to the paradox in calling America the ‘land of the free’ but being highly judgemental and selective within the country. This verse about immigration also adapts a satirical tone unlike the majority of the song. Flowers mocks the notion that immigrants at the border are in any way inferior to us within the border. As the music video depicts, their hands may be dirty, but only because of the rigorous journey to get to the border as well as the mistreatment at it. I think it’s also important to note that hopes and dreams do not discriminate. Flowers is making the point that hopes and dreams are not ‘ours’, but rather everyone has them. He returns to straightforwardness on the line following, saying “People who just want the same thing we do” about those at the border. While their place of origin may be different, their reason to come to ‘the land of the free’ is to live the American dream, something that we as a country have flaunted since the beginning of our existence. It’s alarming that they aren’t getting the opportunity to do so.

The alternative rock genre was born from the pop punk movement, a strong push back against the status quo. Despite its mainly white fan base, alternative rock has lent itself uniquely to protest songs. Whether it be Pumped Up Kicks or American Idiot, the musicians of the genre have fought for what they believe in. As Flowers has stated, protest songs were somewhat out of his comfort zone and he wasn’t sure if he was worthy of being the one to speak out on such impactful topics. However, he used his platform and his genre of music to take a stand.