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Michael Caufield: Music

The business of America is business

(Michael Caufield)
The Business of America


the business of America is business the business of America is business the business of America is business


the business! the business!


the business of America is business the business of America is business


the business of America!


I sing the song of America where the dear old greenback still rules the throng -- could it be that Walt Whitman and Woody Guthrie got it wrong -- that this fair land won’t let us all just get along --


Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy shim sham shue


Shimmy shimmy baby what you gonna do


I sing the song of a seventeen-year-old black man who went out wilding with a couple of friends – an evening highlighted by the dragging of a rich mother of two out of her luxury sedan – after leaving her and the stranger who intervened lying on the asphalt unconscious they sped off looking for a different radio station in the car – two days later when asked by the D.A. why they did it he said, "It was nothing personal, man, you know, like it was just another day of business in America" – shimmy shimmy . . .


I sing the song of a sixty-six year old midwest farmer who had his farm taken away after four generations of constant toil – his father his father’s father and all the womenfolk – but he was the first to hear the banker say, "Now Joe you shouldn’t’ve bought that combine if you couldn’t keep up with the payments" – so they foreclosed and auctioned off the machinery his daughter said, "Dad you come on over to Cincinnati" – he said, "I’ll think about it Julie" – but later that week he took out the shotgun and drove up to the back forty for one last long look – shimmy shimmy . . .




the business! the business! the business of America




I bet you’ve got your own sad tale of naked survival. From Plymouth Rock to Bill Gates’ house it’s one sad tale of people pushed and pulled until they’re all tapped out or they’re the king of the hill.




I sing the song of a recently retired fifty-two year old three-star general (a song my daddy could’ve sung if he hadn’t drunk himself to death after the Viet Nam war, but that’s another story -- back to the general) who knew how to keep his lips tight as he fastened himself onto the great military welfare machine and with less physical labor executed in twenty years than a McDonald’s french fry cooker in three he sat back watching the flag fly high as he drew over $100,000 grand in retirement with full medical and continuing consulting fees – he knew that patriotism wasn’t the last refuge of a scoundrel, it was the sometimes the first – shimmy shimmy . . .




I sing the song – the old sing song of those that have and those that haven’t got much more than their last paycheck – a tune that features CEOs stuffing their faces at the trough smugly thinking it charitable enough that whatever slop dribbles down their chins will be enough for all those struggling below – either way everyone’s up by 7am jamming the freeway – excuse me while I make my getaway – but hey to get back to the song of throwaway life in America where people are chowing down in their cars caught up in the song of prolonged adolescence as their attention spans are ground down by the glorification of consumption at any cost -- need I continue? But let’s not forget the faint song of a steadfast few -- Amen to Ralph Nader and Jimmy Carter and the girl who climbed the redwood and all those who have never given up -- shimmy shimmy . . .