Funky16Corners Election ’08 – Yes We Can


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.

23 Responses to “Funky16Corners Election ’08 – Yes We Can”

  1. fullbodytransplant Says:

    Check out Obama on the Arts:

    Good times.

  2. Agent45 Says:

    Larry – you’re a saint.

  3. seanward Says:

    I pointed out that the choice is between the beginning of a whole new age, or the delay of that start for another four years. I blogged about it here:

  4. John Says:

    Rock on, Larry. The Rethuglicans can’t dance, especially now.

  5. W Says:

    We the People demand President Obama and fine soul blogs!

  6. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    I made my voice heard too.

    “…it’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.”
    -Sam Cooke

    Peace and blessings.

  7. Steve M. Says:

    Check out Obama’s playlist from his rallies. Move on up, baby!

  8. jb Says:

    Very well said, Larry. (Good tune, too.)

  9. Ray Says:

    Canvassed for 4 hours yesterday Larry.
    Will be helping out at the polls Tuesday.
    Go Barack!

  10. djack Says:

    Yes we will.

  11. Paul Says:

    I love your blog, but here’s a note of dissent. Are we really going to “iron out our quarrels” by labeling those with whom we disagree “philosophically bankrupt” and “fascist” (as you did earlier in discussing Sarah Palin)? Can we disagree without reflexively impugning the honor of those on the other side? Put another way: is there really a moral distinction between questioning a political opponent’s patriotism and labeling our opponents “Plutocrats”?

  12. funky16corners Says:

    I don’t think there was anything in that list of pejoratives that isn’t true, especially in reference to a Plutocracy and the philosophical bankruptcy of the Republican party. Their cynical embrace of religious/moral ideologues in order to inflate their ranks, as well as their stubborn belief that government should serve the wealthy first and everyone else should hang on tight and pray for scraps.
    I wouldn’t suggest that the vast majority of those who vote Republican fall into this group (though some of them must).
    If the time is long past for a congenial mending of fences, we have no one to blame but those controlling the Republican Party.
    Ultimately I wish we lived in a sociologically “peaceful” country, but the idea that such a thing can be achieved without a certain amount of turmoil – case in point being the behavior of McCain and his surrogates, not to mention the entire Rove-ian school – is so much wishful thinking.
    American culture is currently beset by the spurious idea that somehow everyone on both sides of these issues is wrong, and the middle of the road is somehow an island of sanity.
    That’s just foolish.
    We can disagree as long as you don’t stand by while creationists try to mess with the education of my children.
    We can disagree as long as the people and corporations that control 90% of the wealth and property in this country begin to act responsibly.
    We can disagree as long as a presidential election can be maintained as a fair fight, without suggestions that the Democratic candidate is a subversive.
    All is NOT fair in love and war, and most especially not in politics.
    Those that stand by and parrot the slanders of the Republican Party are as guilty as those that that make them in the first place.
    If John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republican party do not wish to be labeled as dishonorable, they should cease acting in a dishonorable manner.

  13. Paul Says:

    The guy on your right has rationalizations for his name-calling, too, and they’re equally unhelpful. For example: plutocracy? Really? Then why do 85% of income tax revenues come from the top 25% of earners? Why does the lower half of the wage ladder contribute just 4%? If the rich guys who “control 90% of the wealth and property” have really set out to rip off the little guy, you’d think they could do a better job than that. Incendiary rhetoric will always come more easily than reasoned analysis, but it won’t improve anyone’s understanding of the issues, and it won’t really change any minds.

    With All Due Respect,

  14. GG Says:

    So same shit different day, Paul? Your neo-fascist-neo-conservative leaders have driven the entire world into a downward spiral of a cyclonic shitstorm that ourselves and our children and maybe even our children’s children will ALL be digging ourselves out of for much of our gloriously grey futures. Money has made us weak-willed and utterly complacent enough to have not lifted a finger to say hey wait a minute and actually smell the rotting roses. If people relinquish a little hope, a little belief and rediscover some long forgotten values we’ll be in a much better position to open our eyes, and learn from past mistakes and be proactive in ensuring we ALL not repeat the same mistakes over and over.

    This is not just a issue in America but an issue we all must face across the globe — the divide between the rich and poor gets increasingly wider as we wait for so-called trickle down economics to kick in; or free market economics to provide true happiness rather than simply more blood and more tears for those, the weakened and gullible majority who have choked on the actual real damaging rhetoric of consume-consume-consume of the western administrations/governments. How pathetic are we all to fall into the same trap time and time again. None more pathetic than those who remain ignorant [or stupendously naive and vote in for a first term, let alone a second term of Cheney-Bush]. You Fox News advocates seem to too easily confuse stale rhetoric with fresh perspectives.

    For all our sakes, my friends (and i say that without condesension or selfish motivation, unlike “some” presidential candidates) it is hoped by many overseas you make the right decision this time. Whatever your views of Obama’s policies (or how successfully they will be instigated or how adaptable to changing tides they will actually be remains to be seen), McCain’s policies from deregulated cross-state healthcare to tax cuts for rich corporations to his PR-fuelled desperation regarding VP choice are completely frightening prospects. Same old story but in wildly more dangerous circumstances. We all must wake up. And soon.

  15. Groovin' Dan Says:

    To paraphrase Curtis Mayfield, this is OUR country.

    It’s time to take it back.

  16. links for 2008-11-03 (Jarrett House North) Says:

    […] Funky16Corners Election ‘08 – Yes We Can « Funky16Corners Another interesting Obama related song from Funky16Corners. (tags: 2008 election obama free music mp3) […]

  17. Joey Says:

    Your records must be liberated! You have all original pressings,
    while the masses settle for represses. This injustice must end!

  18. Junit Says:

    Happy anniversary Funky16corners. This is THE blog that got me interested in posting up my show’s mixes (though they are nowhere near as good as those found here). Keep up the good work.

    4 More Years! 4 More Years! [Of Funky 16 Corners…and hopefully blogs don’t have term limits]
    J-Unit 1

  19. andujar Says:

    hey…great site…i love the funky 16 corners…
    about the presidential year-long TV special…i think americans need to start doing some constructive things in their communities. this business of voting for the politician at the top who will give americans what they feel they are entitled to is a useless path to walk. americans get what they deserve because they don’t know what solidarity is…people working together in their neighborhoods to accomplish something real. i don’t see enough of that happening. in some ways it really dosn’t matter who wins this contest because americans will probably still sit on their asses and let the world slave for them. i hope the citizens of this country wake up and start some real action.
    the USA needs true socialism to address the needs of all who live here. it shouldn’t be left to rich rednecks or rich so-called lefties. let’s get real here people and understand that our shit stinks worse than we want to admit. do something real…beyond ballots or bullets.
    keep up the funk!!!!
    music and culture and labor. this is what runs america…if it chooses to!

  20. JJ Money Says:

    Props to Allen TousSAINT for WRITING the lyrics!

  21. I Hope « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Says:

    […] out Larry’s Obama endorsement at Funky16Corners, the one at Any Major Dude With Half a Heart, or the essay at Pandagon on what today […]

  22. The Basement Rug Says:

    Check out my Obamamania Election Mix post at – download the mix at or the shorter podcast at Enjoy!

  23. kel Says:

    I go with what you say GG. Paul must have money hanging out his ass , When someone needs real help with a crisis the rich go on ther marry way ,the poor seem to always come out to lend a hand . We all would like to spread the wealth but like most we have to do this in different ways. we all like nice things and most of us have to borrow and make payments to achieve anything . what we all need to do is work extra if all possible and try what ever it takes to get ourselves paid out. As for myself and my family that is our goal and there is noway in hell i will ever —ever make payments on anything for as long as i live and we are teaching this to our children . I have never had much in my life wasn’t born with a chunck of gold hanging out my ass as several i know. I have worked sence i was seven years old beside a man doing a mans work , believe me what i have recived i have worked for . Working in logging industry at 49 years of age my body is like 75 years old. Our contry has been going to shit for years there has to be a pay day its been comming and here it is we are going to have to get pour heads out of our ass and do with less and get over it and live as best we can no matter what, it could be worse and probably will , i’ll survive i can hunt for food , we all are going to have to survivilists quit cryng around what the hell they did in the past and move on . No one owes me a damm thing i’ll take care of myself and my family i don’t need the gov. to help me do shit and when at one time i asked for it got turned down ,! No matter what they will do what they want no matter what the people want or actually need thats just the wat it is and always will be .

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