Pawn

Copyright © 2011 Bob Persons
March 10, 2011

Think good-feeling slogans are a substitute for research and real thinking? PAWN!

Think giving $ to the rich will trickle down to benefit us all? PAWN!

Think corporations give $ to politicians and don't expect any special favors in return? PAWN!

Think "share the pain" applies only to wage workers? PAWN!

Think the state is "broke"? PAWN!

Think government workers are a leech on taxpayers? PAWN!

Think the only way to solve Wisconsin's budget problem is by cutting government workers' take-home pay? PAWN!

Think making public workers pay more toward their benefits is not the same as a tax increase? PAWN!

Think collective bargaining in Wisconsin and the US is damaging our economies? PAWN!

Think stripping collective bargaining from the budget bill makes it a non-fiscal issue, when the governor already insisted it is? PAWN!

Think the attack on public workers will not impact private workers? PAWN!

Think the state government bullying local governments into budget solutions they didn't ask for is NOT big government? PAWN!

Think the lockout of people from the Wisconsin Capitol is for security? PAWN!

Think pitting groups of working people against each other benefits America? PAWN!

Think that it's OK to give taxpayer $ to business and rich folk and OK to cut millions of $ for nurses, health care, schools, etc? PAWN!

Think our legislature is just the right size - no cuts needed there? PAWN!

Think that our governor is creating jobs? PAWN!

Think that killing the train project does not result in the loss of several thousand jobs? PAWN!

Think that public jobs lost are not jobs that are lost? PAWN!

Believe that legislators will actually legislate smaller government? PAWN!

Believe we can continue unlimited growth without destroying our environment? PAWN!

Believe in the magic of the marketplace? PAWN!

Live in fear of socialist programs? PAWN!

Think cutting spending AND taxes together will improve the economy? PAWN!

Think corporations deserve the constitutional right to free speech? PAWN!

Think corporate money in political campaigns is good for America? PAWN!

Think changing the terminology we appy to enemies - insurgents / death squads / baathists / militia / soldiers / murderers - helps us understand what we should do to fight them? PAWN!

Think that pledging allegiance to the flag, singing the national anthem, putting a I-support-the-troops decal on my car makes me a patriot? PAWN!

Oh, and how about a few slogans from the golden era?

When they manipulate the issues with slogans, it's their game, not yours.
You're only a pawn in their game.

47 years ago a young musician saw all this clearly, relative to the civil rights abuses of the time. He saw that those in power used the struggle to pit both classes of poor people - white and black - against each other. Slogans were an important piece of that strategy.

A South politician preaches to the poor white man,
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain.
You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain.
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid,
And the marshals and cops get the same,
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool.
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks,
And the hoof beats pound in his brain.
And he's taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide 'neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

-- Bob Dylan, “Only a Pawn in Their Game”, in The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964)

- Lone Coyote Calls

 

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