Archive for November 2nd, 2008

Funky16Corners Election ’08 – Yes We Can

November 2, 2008


Vote Obama

Listen – Lee Dorsey – Yes We Can – MP3″

Listen – The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope the dawning of a new week – and maybe soon a new era – finds you well.
Though I would be lying if I said that politics had never been mentioned here, the last few months has seen that subject displayed more prominently, and with good reason.
This coming Tuesday is the most important presidential election since the war in Vietnam. Our country is – thanks to decades of deregulation – in the midst of a serious financial crisis (one that is making my already precarious job all the more so). We are fighting unnecessary wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We are at a cultural crossroads.
Thanks to the alliance between the greed and Bible thumping wings of the Republican Party (to whom the selection of a certain know-nothing populist was a sop), the future of our constitution, already battered and torn from 28 years of abuse, and the make-up of the Supreme Court will be decided on Election Day.
The choice we face this Tuesday, as American citizens, is between maintenance of a diseased status quo, and a chance at redemption.
I don’t expect Barack Obama to make everything better. No one human is going to be able to do that. However, he is a man of intelligence, honesty and vision, who – I believe – has the best interest of our country at heart.
Not the interests of the very wealthy, or those who have foolishly entrusted their future to the Plutocrats, waiting for sustenance to “trickle down”, but rather those who have been forsaken by our government for so long, victims of a virulent strain of social Darwinism that would have us view our fellow man as little more than a liability.
Our society is at a point where McLuhan’s Global Village has been coopted by those that Orwell warned us about. Those for whom truth is a flexible concept, rumor and innuendo are weapons and nothing matters except staying on top of the heap.
Where the Republican Party were once happy only to ally themselves with religious ideologues, they have now added the racist and xenophobic fringe elements of society to their ranks, all wrapped together in a flag that so employed loses much of its meaning.
When you go into the voting booth on Tuesday, and pull the lever for Barack Obama, you will be sending a signal to those whose minds are planted deep in the last century that the cancer that eats away at the well being of our country can not and will not be allowed to flourish.
Last night my wife and I were watching ‘Chicago 10’, and I thought to myself that what the Republican Party is doing in 2008 is attempting to replay the Vietnam era game of who gets to define who is patriotic, and why. Anyone that questions/threatens the sociopolitical status quo is somehow ‘unamerican’. McCain, Palin and their proxies pollute the discourse with loaded code words like ‘socialist’ and ‘Marxist’ and then retreat to the comfort of right wing media outlets to cry about how criticism of their actions in this regard is somehow unconstitutional.
This country has suffered through decades of the flag waving, breast beating, philosophically bankrupt variety of “patriotism” in which we are repeatedly subjected to screams of ‘USA!’ by people who act like they have no idea what that acronym stands for.
The time for action is now.
This Tuesday, you can step into the ballot box, and be secure in the notion that by voting for Barack Obama you will be making a move for real, necessary change.
One of the early, important slogans of the Obama campaign was a simple one:

Yes We Can.

It just so happens that that slogan is also the title of a song – written by the mighty Allen Toussaint – with another (similar) important message.

Now’s the time for all good men
to get together with one another.
We got to iron out our problems
and iron out our quarrels
and try to live as brothers.
And try to find a piece of land
without stepping on one another.
And do respect the women of the world.
Remember you all have mothers.
We got to make this land a better land
than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
with the kindness that we give.
I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can’t we?
If we wanna get together we can work it out.

And we gotta take care of all the children,
the little children of the world.
’cause they’re our strongest hope for the future,
the little bitty boys and girls.

We got to make this land a better land
than the world in which we live.
And we got to help each man be a better man
with the kindness that we give.
I know we can make it.
I know darn well we can work it out.
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
yes we can can, why can’t we?
If we wanna, yes we can can.

I mean, honest to god, how can you disagree with anything in those lyrics?
Today I bring you two very funky versions of that song.
The first – and original – is by the master, Lee Dorsey, one of the greatest New Orleans R&B/soul singers and most important interpreters of Toussaint’s words and music.
The second, recorded a few years after Dorsey’s is by the Pointer Sisters.
Both versions are outstanding, and both carry the same message.
Yes we can.

PS Tuesday marks the 4th anniversary of the Funky16Corners Blog. Tuesday night I’ll be posting a special anniversary edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast.
See you then…

PSS Head over to Iron Leg for something from Doug Sahm.