The RAP Vote: An Economic Protest Song For 2012 – OpEd


Fifty years ago Pete Seeger, the American folk singer of iconic dimensions, gave us a good start in US protest music with “Turn, Turn, Turn” although it would be 2 to 4 years before its recordings by Judy Collins, The Byrds and The Seegers, had us hum it along, thus placing it in the annals of immortality.

Protest music in America during the 1960’s was confined for the most part, however, to the Peace-Environment-Civil Rights triad, issues that were of foremost importance in that decade. And although economic equity was by no means prevalent during that period, the United States’ share of the world economy [its proportional use of all resources] was very significant; and the middle class was large and confident – most households only requiring one member to work in order to meet their needs. And, because of this state of economic plenty, and awareness of US economic preeminence in the world, they became tolerant, or indifferent, to the sub rosa workings of the military-industrial complex, American foreign policy, or the transformation of a reasonable democratic society into an empire which grew larger and larger, extending its clutches both domestically and internationally.

Middle class America saw and accepted the buildup of the empire and its decadent wars and policeman-role as an assurance, or insurance premium, of their privileged economic position, not able to realize the impending treason that would be cast on them by the Thug-elite: the holders of wealth and power in the nation that threw their countrymen to the wolves, via the acceptance of an economic globalization for which they were not prepared. And it was the politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, which made what should have been a one-two generation gradual change into an overnight catapult shot which benefited the Thug-elite but threw the middle class under the bus.

So, if we are to have protest music in America, it’s unlikely that it will be about peace, the environment or civil rights. Economics, lack of living-wage jobs are the concerns, although we seem to continue, somewhat idiotically, expecting solutions from Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the twin Democrat and Republican politicians that brought us to the economic cliff from where we hang today.

Apropos to the topic we are tackling today, and as promised a few weeks ago my ghost lyricist friend, Ricky “My-T-Mouth” Johnson, he just sent me some tentative lyrics for a rap song he’s making available to a rapper with conscience, adding his willingness to work with him, or her, on changes and modifications. I sense that Ricky wants to find a rapper-balladeer (an odd marriage in terms to some of us) that he can partner with to bring about through RAP (Repudiation of American Politics) a new affection and true appreciation for the Green Party.

We thank Ricky for his efforts, and I feel the Green Party does as well. Here are the lyrics… but, of course, the right rap music needs to be there.

Americans have had enough… more than enough.
Politics is puppetry theatre produced by the Thug-elite
Used to transfer wealth and power to the Thug-elite;
Yes, the Thug-elite, yes, the Thug-elite.

Tis the Thug-elite that pulls all the strings,
Strings that put the moves on Tweedledum,
Strings that put the moves on Tweedledee;
Candidates in 20-12: TweedleBar’k and TweedleMitt.

Yes, Americans have had enough;
Yes, Americans have had enough… more than enough.

Verse 1: [Evolution]

We’ve come a long way baby since poor maligned Jimmy Carter,
Evolving under rules of greed, and Wall Street’s freak enterprise;
Led by the barbershop quartet of Reagan, Clinton and the two Bushes,
Who cut jobs with living wages, styling new jobs at minimum wages!

Globalization topped the list in Thug-elite’s Dickensian agenda,
Entry fee paid by the middle class, this time ‘round as sacrificial lamb;
Foreign aid no longer measured in food, weapons and mighty dollars,
Our exports being instead: weapons and middle class jobs’ hemoglobin.

But we didn’t fear; trickledown economics was galloping to our rescue,
Letting the rich grab whole dollars, graciously leaving us a few cents;
Lest we be seen as unpatriotic, envious, ungrateful, and lazy Socialists,
In America we must celebrate, give thanks for Thug-elite’s great success.

So the Thug-elite drugged us with bubbly-highs, making us all millionaires;
Have your own Fort Knox, they said, for after all, your home is your castle.
So we all evolved, lived the American dream with which we’ve been blessed,
While the Thug-elite labored day-n-night robbing us deaf, mute and blind.


Verse 2: [Devolution]

Now that we’ve been bled bone dry by a deceiving, conniving Thug-elite,
Insisting fairness is served by rewarding a man’s sweat and productivity
In obscene equivalence: a hundred, a thousand times another man’s worth,
There is only one way to respond, and that’s demanding devolution.

Give the commons their fair share stolen during the brainwashing evolution
When the Thug-elite installed unfair taxation which denied people their due;
While disregarding society’s basic needs: food, shelter, education, medical care
And unashamedly filling their coffers at the expense of society’s powerless.

Proclaiming the need for devolution is not promoting or inciting class warfare,
Intended instead to undo what for time immemorial has been grossly unfair;
For wealth is not created solely by the genius of a few, but by labor of many,
People who trail-blazed and sacrificed to make future genius possible.

For society to survive and thrive, it must stop greed from the Thug-elite few,
And what’s been ill-acquired or ill-kept must find a return to the commons;
No individual should self-determine what contribution is his to keep,
Only society should determine just rewards, not the self-serving Thug-elite.


Verse 3: [Revolution]

But neither retribution, nor devolution, will likely occur without revolution,
The Thug-elite insisting that economic matters be left to the marketplace;
A marketplace without controls where people must pay monopolies’ fees,
Where the Thug-elite would charge, if they could, for the air we breathe.

So the alternative is but one: dismantle what’s imposed as law and order,
For the law is but rules by the Thug-elite, and order is nothing but captivity;
Such dismantling to be done in a bloodless, compelling democratic fashion,
As the Thug-elite capitulates to fairness without the need to take up arms.

Our revolutionary forefathers warned us that liberty is entirely in our hands,
Not the government, banks or corporations, now all owned by the Thug-elite:
A ruling class of slave masters who might only number one percent,
But who hold the loyalty of legion slave handlers ready to do their bid.

Let’s stay silent no more, sounding off against TweedleBar’k and TweedleMitt, Casting our vote against the twins who have kept us far too long in chains;
Casting our warning signal to both Democrat and Republican politicians,
Telling them to overhaul a corrupt system and set course for true democracy.


Adjoiner to Lyrics or Post-Chorus Finale

Park your vote and preserve your political voice:
Cast a vote for the Green Party

Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn is a syndicated columnist. Over a decade ago he started writing a weekly sociopolitical column, 'Behind the Mirror,' hoping to bring new perspectives that would allow us to see ourselves with borrowed eyes. He can be reached at [email protected]

One thought on “The RAP Vote: An Economic Protest Song For 2012 – OpEd

  • September 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    And what will we do with all the rappers put away? Beg the Thug-elite for forgiveness?
    Like the lyrics, for the truth more than the music.


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