Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Government on Horseback

I try to decide whether our current presidential situation is worse than Reagan in the 1980s. I think it clearly is, but I also realize that hindsight and survivor bias make the Reagan years seem not as bad as they seemed at the time.

That's why it's handy to look at documents from that time period to relive the shock and awe (Iran Contra! The impending nuclear threat!). And that includes songs, like "Government on Horseback Again" by Si Kahn.

I recommend listening to a recording like this one (Kahn starts singing just before the two-minute mark). I am lucky enough to have bought a CD of Sign of the Times, an album he did with John McCutcheon that includes this song, which is a bit more of a high-energy rendition.

But even without the music, it's worth it to appreciate the lyrics:

Government on Horseback Again
Words and music by Si Kahn

The President stepped off the silver screen
He said, People put your lives here in my hands
We can turn our country's honor white again
Let the sulfur smoke of progress fill our land

'Cause we've got government on horseback again
Back to the days when Congressmen were men
We can make it on our own
Running on testosterone
It's government on horseback again

Help me give our land a golden goose
Turn our native corporations loose
High voltage lines will go the extra mile
Now it's power to the people, nuclear style

Blow out the lamp beside the golden door
We don't need cheap foreign labor any more
Without our unions and the E.R.A.
We will all have twice the jobs at half the pay

Back again, back again
We've got government on horseback again
It's back to home for mommies
Bomb the hell out of the commies
It's government on horseback again
Hearing that Ryan Zincke rode a horse to his first day on the job as Secretary of the Interior brought this song back to me. Turnip, of course, has probably never been on a horse in his life, so the metaphor is not exact. But the issues, and the alpha-male levels of testosterone, are not so different.

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