To hear the song, click on song title just below (in green).
“If you want to know what a person’s character is really like, give them power.”
I can’t quite remember what provoked this song , but it could have been any number of things i might have read in the recent past about Rome, about WWII, about slavery, about Enron or any number of things in current events.The older I get, the more I am struck by what seems to me the corrupting, and seemingly irresistible, influence that power has on the human heart. The pride which either leads to the desire for power or flows from possession of it; the blindness or indifference to consequences that it seems to breed; the sense of superiority that so often feeds off of positions of influence – it al makes me think that power is a dangerous ‘gift’ to be given. I don’t have television and don’t get lots of news, but the bit that gets through often makes me scratch my head about those who fill leadership positions.
I am reluctant to write songs that generalize inappropriately or criticize certain subsets of the population. After all, none of us is without sin. I am certain that, in positions of power, whether those positions be political, corporate, or artistic, there are virtuous and not-so-virtuous people. Washington, Wall Street, and Hollywood, I hope, must be home to some very well-intentioned souls, even if their voices are drowned out and ignored by the majority.
But all that said, I do wonder sometimes if people in places of authority – those in politics, those who run the financial institutions and courts, those who rule the realm of fashion and pop culture — have much connection to the day-to-dayness that is life for the masses.
This song is a non-partisan, equal opportunity jeremiad. I had no particular person, party or group in mind.
I hear the politican trying to push some his perfect plan
But he’s really part magician and part advertising man
Like the guys who move the markets by some rules we can’t explain
They only have one target, the profits and the gains
And they swear they’re here to help us
They will give us all things good
These United states of Washington,
Wall street and Hollywood
There is an art that has no compass, in the culture and on the screen
It boasts some brand of freedom that says nothing is obscene
And they make their bold decision as if there is no price to pay
Disregarding admonition as if there is no judgment day
But somewhere in the heartland, we all choose to get on board
To serve the kingdom of the world, or the kingdom of the Lord