What you have to understand, really, is that Real American is more than just a song.  It's a self-contained meme, the anthem for an entire decade of professional wrestling (1984-1993), in which Hulkamania ran wild and heroes could do no wrong.  Even today, the opening guitar strums will evoke strong emotions in anyone who watched wrestling in the 80s.

I feel strong about right and wrong

Unlike today, where the goal is to have wrestlers come across as "everymen", in Hulk Hogan's era everything was larger than life.  The good guys were GOOD and never cheated, and they wore bright colorful outfits and came down to the ring to upbeat, happy music.  The bad guys were BAD, BAD MEN; they dressed in drab reds and blacks, cheated outrageously at every opportunity, and came down to ringside to screeching, painful tunes.  There were no shades of grey.  It was David and Goliath, every night, and David always won because he had to, because there were twenty thousand screaming pre-adolescent Hulkamaniacs in the audience who would cry themselves to sleep if the Giant ever won.

I am a real American

It was the Cold War, and Communism was vanquished at every available opportunity.  "Evil foreigners" like Ludvig Borga, the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and the Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter came off a specially crafted Bad Guy Assembly Line to evoke strong pro-USA sentiments in the fans.  They became Hogan's staple diet, being fed to him and destroyed on a monthly basis.  Hulk Hogan was good, Hulk Hogan was pure, Hulk Hogan was everything that was right about America.  He wore red and yellow to the ring, but in later years he'd often come down waving Old Glory around in case the point hadn't been driven home yet.

If you hurt my friends, then you hurt my pride

If for some odd reason an Evil Foreigner wasn't available at the moment, there was really only one other way feuds with Hogan started--Hogan and X are friends, X betrays Hogan, X beats up Hogan's friends, X beats up Hogan, Hogan prevails over X in the end.  It was simple, and very, very effective. Just look at what kids are taught from the time they're old enough to talk: Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal. Don't betray your friends. You put people on the screen doing all four, and they're instant Hitlers in the eyes of America's youth. Examples of this formula in action: Paul Orndorff (1985), Andre the Giant (1987), Randy Savage (1989), the Ultimate Warrior (1990), and Sid Vicious (1992).

I got something deep inside of me/And courage is the thing that keeps us free

This was the heart of the matter, no pun intended.  The good guys always won because they were better--they were strong, loyal, and brave.  They never quit because they couldn't--that would be cowardly, not courageous.  As weird as it sounds, an entire decade of wrestling was based almost entirely around the rules of chivalry.

And then, in the mid '90s, something happened...everyone grew up.  People who cheered as kids for Hogan in the '80s were now post-adolescents or in their twenties, and had long outgrown all that Good vs. Evil stuff.  People began to see Hogan and others like him for what they were--relics of an earlier era, like old Saturday morning cartoons.  It wasn't about killing the commies anymore, it was about waking up at 6 AM and having to deal with your shitty boss at your shitty job.  And so, wrestling underwent another makeover to imitate life--and the era of WWF Attitude had begun.

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