Small Demon
Mar 182009
 

What with all the new populism going around, I’d just like to lay claim to a little of the old populism myself. To wit:

I don’t want your millions, Mister,
I don’t want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

Now, I don’t want your Rolls-Royce, Mister,
I don’t want your pleasure yacht.
All I want’s just food for my babies,
Give to me my old job back.

We worked to build this country, Mister,
While you enjoyed a life of ease.
You’ve stolen all that we built, Mister,
Now our children starve and freeze.

So, I don’t want your millions, Mister,
I don’t want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

Think me dumb if you wish, Mister,
Call me green, or blue, or red.
This one thing I sure know, Mister,
My hungry babies must be fed.

So, I don’t want your millions, Mister,
I don’t want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

That one strikes a chord, what with the CEO of AIG urging his managers to give back half their bonuses — but only if they were more than a hundred grand.I just paid my taxes today and I realize, all things considered, I’m fairly well-off. My whole household income rounds out around the minimum bonus this guy Liddy thinks might be just a little excessive, under the circumstances, you understand. I actually got a bonus this year — for being at my job 20 years — it was in the mid three figures range, after taxes were withheld.

And here’s another one from the same file — pretty sure I learned them both from a Pete Seeger record when I was fifteen, listening secretly while my Republican fundamentalist parents were at work:

I’ve traveled round this country
From shore to shining shore
It really made me wonder
The things I heard and saw.

I saw the weary farmer
Plowing sod and loam
l heard the auction hammer
A knocking down his home

But the banks are made of marble
With a guard at every door
And the vaults are stuffed with silver
That the farmer sweated for

l saw the seaman standing
Idly by the shore
l heard the bosses saying
Got no work for you no more

But the banks are made of marble
With a guard at every door
And the vaults are stuffed with silver
That the seaman sweated for

I saw the weary miner
Scrubbing coal dust from his back
I heard his children cryin
Got no coal to heat the shack

But the banks are made of marble
With a guard at every door
And the vaults are stuffed with silver
That the miner sweated for

I’ve seen my brothers working
Throughout this mighty land
l prayed we’d get together
And together make a stand

Then we’d own those banks of marble
With a guard at every door
And we’d share those vaults of silver
That we have sweated for

Hmm . . . I guess we do own those banks now. I guess we’d better start living up to our progressive fantasies. Sentimantal? Maybe, but maybe we ought to try living up to our sentiments, too. That includes you, Mr. Obama.