The older I get the more I am certain that a very select group of songwriters tried to warn us about the direction of the world. This time we turn to Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson. Their song “Everybody Knows” is one of those timeless songs that when you hear it, you say, oh that one…and sing along.
Certain pop culture tunes knock me out with their ability to warn us of the direction of politics. This one is no exception.
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
This is what some politicians want us to think. The War on Terror is over and we lost. First, that war is not now nor will it ever be over. Humans have wanted to terrorize other humans for many thousands of years. It isn’t ending soon. Those same politicians want you to think that without their help you will always be poor, and never rich, unless they tax that rich guy back into the same condition as poor people. Notice that political discussion, at least these days, is so rarely about building anything up, it is about tearing someone else down.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Translation? The other guy did it, and lied about it. He hit the giant floating chunk of ice, he’s to blame…Here is a tiny treat to hold you over. Note when you see political ads there is rarely a solution offered, but there are a lot of complains about how that other guy sucks.
Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows
Translation? I’m the one that loves you, I’m the one that cares about you. Send me into office and I’ll be sure to send you something in return.
And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
How often in modern political campaigns do you hear that “this time if we don’t win it’s over, the world is coming to an end and the nation will never be the same again.” I’m tired of that. We will still be a nation, but we are always a nation of change. We were once a nation of slavery, we no longer have it. See, we changed, and we didn’t end. We can and will change again and we will be better tomorrow than we are today.
There are a few more verses to the song, but I think you see the point. We are 90 days away from a mid term election. I for one am really sick of the ads already. It is all about how this guy is to blame for this problem, and only I can fix it. So I’ll make that other guy pay so….you see the point.
I urge everyone to look for the candidate espousing ideas, and not the guy looking to blame someone else, then take something from one person and hand it to another. Look for the candidate that wants to build things up, not tear them down.