Thoughts on Trump and folksongs

I have made a blues, “Dear Mr. President”- I think it’s the first time I’ve used the form. The “Dear Mr…” is really sarcastic, because, unlike Pete’s which asked Roosevelt to give him a gun to fight fascism, every verse of mine points a finger at his lies and hate mongering, even forecasts impeachment, which may not be far off once the Mike Flynn cover-up plays out.  One of my Trump songs and a Brexit song are on Youtube, but I think the best is the Migrant song, which is getting noticed. More to be recorded once I’ve got back to the studio.

All of us have always wanted to speak to the working class, often seeing the unions as the conduit, while we lamented the reality of usually singing to the converted. Even during the Vietnam period when there were many more converted, The Singers Club was packed with CP people every week. Only the concerts, rallies, pickets, special shows and the like allowed us to occasionally break out.

Now only 10% of the workforce belongs to a trade union, but communication is revolutionised through social media. Like the record industry before it, global corporations own social media, other corporations exploit it for profitb, and broadcast media won’t touch anything political. Nearly everything labelled folk these days is the kind of easy listening pop that sounds like it’s been computer generated.

The big change, in just the last several weeks, is that millions are now waking up, marching, organising, holding rallies, staging events. The new converted if you will. The majority who voted against Trump, the near majority who voted Remain. The millions who don’t believe the lies they are fed daily.  They are more than ready for hard-hitting songs. Songs like Ballad of Accounting, The Big Muddy, Kent State Massacre, Fields of Vietnam, Pie in the Sky, Do Re Mi, and thousands of others are still relevant. Ken Loach reaches millions. Soon, there will be a anthem as powerful as We Shall Overcome, probably written or adapted by some 20 year old, like it was then. For me all there is now is to keep on, not give up and try to reach out to whoever will listen. We all need to collaborate more. Unity is strength.

Here’s the song:

Dear Mr President ©Jack Warshaw 2017
A blues inspired by Pete Seeger’s 1940 song of the same title, in which he asks Roosevelt to give him a gun to fight Hitler. The form and sentiments of this one are very different. It works well to Mule Skinner Blues.

Dear Mr President, I just don’t understand
Dear Mr President, I just don’t understand
Why you think we believe you
When you lie to every body in this land

You don’t care about your people, you been spoiled since you were born
You don’t care about your people, you been spoiled since you were born
You can call yourself a strong man
But you don’t know right from wrong

You made your riches, cheating folks all over town
You made your riches, cheating folks all over town
Some day all them people
Gonna tear your towers down

You set neighbour upon neighbour, like them fascists did before
You set neighbour upon neighbour, like them fascists did before
Don’t you know Abe Lincoln said
You can’t fool all the people anymore

You think women are born just to be your property
You think women are born just to be your property
‘Till you learn we’re all equal
It’s you than can’t be free

Dear Mr President, please tell me if you can
Dear Mr President, please tell me if you can
Why you lie to all your people
Every woman, every man

They say if you know the truth, then the truth will set you free
They say if you know the truth, then the truth will set you free
That’s how I know you’re not my President,
And never, ever will you be.

Hey Mr President, tell me what you gonna do
Hey Mr President, tell me what you gonna do
When you learn that your people
Have had enough of you

We’re gonna put you on the stand, and we’ll impeach your ass
We’re gonna put you on the stand, and we’ll impeach your ass
When you lie one more time
You’re goin’ down so fast.

 

 

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