Monday, October 22, 2012

Songs that Capture a Mood: “Ideology”

Tonight the American voter will get to see the final debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney.  With that in mind, I think that Billy Bragg’s song “Ideology” perfectly sums things up.  The song originally appeared on Bragg’s 1986 album Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (Official, AllMusic, Wikipedia) and captures the almost timeless nature of the problems in politics (i.e. the powerful stay powerful, etc., for more on my thoughts on this matter check out this post).

The song’s lyrics point to the nature of the modern political process that promotes the well being of the rich and powerful over that of the common citizen. 

When one voice rules the nation
Just because they're top of the pile
Doesn't mean their vision is the clearest
The voices of the people
Are falling on deaf ears
Our politicians all become careerists

They must declare their interests
But not their company cars
Is there more to a seat in parliament
Than sitting on your arse
And the best of all this bad bunch
Is shouting to be heard
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Outside the patient millions
Who put them into power
Expect a little more back for their taxes
Like school books, beds in hospitals
And peace in our bloody time
All they get is old men grinding axes

Who've built their private fortunes
On the things they can rely
The courts, the secret handshake
The Stock Exchange and the old school tie
For God and Queen and Country
All things they justify
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

God bless the civil service
The nations saving grace
While we expect democracy
They're laughing in our face
And although our cries get louder
The laughter gets louder still
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies,
Above the sound of ideologies clashing

In these tenuous times the people of the United States are more divided than ever.  Talking heads, pendants, politicians, bloggers, and polemics scream at the rain blaming all the ills of the world on those with whom they disagree, all the while ignoring (whether on purpose or not) the fact that if left unchecked, both of the major parties will pull this country into the pit of tyranny (for more on that topic check out this post).  And this is happening all to the sound of ideologies clashing.    

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