Power and Glory

Phil Ochs wrote a song about Power and Glory way back in 1963. I think it is even more pertinent today fifty five years later.

 

This is the ultimate in patriotic songs. Do you love your country as it is? Is that patriotic? To love it right or wrong?

 

Or do you want to change it to become something better?

 

Phil was saying that a country is only as good as the freedom it gives people, how it treats the poor and its system of justice.

 

I would add to that the way it treats nature.

 

We in the West have tremendous power. Are we using it to create a fair just world?

 

I think not.

 

We are using our power to control people, to wage war, to exploit people. We are creating an unjust society in which the wealthy elite have all the power, control elections with their funding, control government with their lobbying and exploit everybody else for profit. A land where justice is metered out to the poor but doesn't apply to the rich, where taxation is accounted to the last penny for the poor but is evaded by the rich. A land which is being systematically destroyed for profit as open cast mines, deforestation and sea-bed trawling destroys habitats and wipes out wildlife. 

 

We live in a land that is exercising its power but has no glory.

 

So what is the strength of freedom? 

 

It's glory does rest with us all. We have the power to democratically vote in people who are honest and will represent us and not that powerful elite. I do not think that can be found in the lies of a self-serving billionaire or of a party that represents business executives no matter how glib they may sound.

 

I want to live in a country that has glory because it does the right things and has moral integrity. We are far from achieving that. There is no glory to be seen. This is a country that sells itself to the highest bidder. We are the whores of the world.

 

Power and Glory - Phil Ochs

 

Come and take a walk with me through this green and growing land
Walk through the meadows and the mountains and the sand
Walk through the valleys and the rivers and the plains
Walk through the sun and walk through the rain

 

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all, on us all

 

From Colorado, Kansas, and the Carolinas too
Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new
Texas and Ohio and the California shore
Tell me, who could ask for more?

 

Yet she's only as rich as the poorest of her poor
Only as free as the padlocked prison door
Only as strong as our love for this land
Only as tall as we stand

 

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all, on us all

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYRBHpW2GBA

Comments

opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2018 - 12:38pm
Where are the present day singers to rival Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan? Those two raised sensitivities and became important voices against the madness of their day. Nobody has risen to the occasion that I can see!
Music has become dominated by the establishment. It's all corporate!
We need a counterculture.
Dino Manalis Added Oct 2, 2018 - 1:33pm
 Power and glory should be employed correctly to benefit all of us!
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2018 - 2:14pm
Dino - only too true!
Stone-Eater Added Oct 2, 2018 - 2:41pm
Oph
 
My words !
Doug Plumb Added Oct 2, 2018 - 3:13pm
We were warned:
 
Its All Over Now, Baby Blue (THEM):
 


You must leave now take what you need
You think will last
But whatever you wish to keep you better grab it fast

Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out baby, the saints are comin' through
And it's all over now baby blue

The highway is for gamblers better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence
The empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
 
*references materialism "coincidence" is what materialism rests on.

The sky too is fallin in over you- ooo
And it's all over now baby blue

Leave your stepping stones behind
There's something that calls for you
Forget the debt you left that will not follow you

Your lover who has just walked through the door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet too is foldin' over you
And it's all over now baby blue
 
*almost direct reference to Christ. This song was written in '66.

Well strike another match, yeah, go start a-new
Go start a-new
'Cause it's all over now baby blue
Hey, hey, yeah
It's all over, it's all over now baby blue
It's all over, it's all over now oh yeah

It's all over now, it's all over now baby blue
 
*I think this is one of my favorite lyrics. The song has been done and redone, but THEM does it best.
 
Its All Over Now, Baby Blue


 
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2018 - 6:26pm
Stone - and mine. I guess we all have to stand tall!
opher goodwin Added Oct 2, 2018 - 6:30pm
Doug - Another great Dylan song and yes, I do think that Them with Van Morrison did a definitive version. I don't know where you get the reference to Christ from.
It was written by Dylan about the bust up with Joan Baez.
James Travil Added Oct 2, 2018 - 9:37pm
Well before my time Opher but good stuff, I wholeheartedly agree! 
David Montaigne Added Oct 2, 2018 - 10:34pm
I like the message and the song.  Power corrupts; perhaps allowing career politicians in office for decades is a recipe for disaster.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2018 - 4:03am
James - I think music and protest are timeless.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2018 - 4:04am
David - I would agree with that. They need changing regularly before they get into bad habits.
Doug Plumb Added Oct 3, 2018 - 1:54pm
Back in '66 Christ was a major part of the culture in the West. The reference is to Christ or someone else. I can't imagine who else it could be.
Dylan was working for the CIA. He has admitted this.
Johnny Fever Added Oct 3, 2018 - 2:07pm
“We are using our power to control people, to wage war, to exploit people. We are creating an unjust society in which the wealthy elite have all the power, control elections with their funding, control government with their lobbying and exploit everybody else for profit.”
 
You may be doing that, I’m not doing that.  America, the country where I reside, isn’t doing that, nor are my fellow citizens.  Seeing you’ve provided no evidence as your accusations about us, there is no need to wage a defense.  
 
As for glory, doing the right things and moral integrity, I know a place where these things are paramount…America.  Just because you and Phil Ochs thing otherwise, doesn’t make you right.  That being said, no country is perfect but by and large America is a model for the rest of the world.  That’s why they’re all trying to come here.  God bless America. 
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2018 - 3:13pm
Doug - he was Jewish too! Wow!! So the CIA wrote all those songs!
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2018 - 3:22pm
Johnny - Wow!! You don't think the USA is waging war right now? Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia are not happening?? Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea didn't happen?
The CIA weren't involved in undermining South American and Central American regimes that they did not like?
You don't think American companies are employing third world people are cut-price rates and in poor conditions?
You don't think that American companies are exploiting anyone?
You don't think the wealthy elite are controlling things through bribery, lobbying, funding politicians and a host of other less legal methods?
You don't believe that the wealthy are stuffing money off-shore in tax evading schemes??
Meanwhile Trump and Kavanaugh cover the US in glory!
You're one naïve guy.
Doug Plumb Added Oct 3, 2018 - 6:37pm
Maybe he was doing cloak and dagger work on the side for the CIA, but I tend to think he was working for them by singing their songs.
opher goodwin Added Oct 3, 2018 - 6:57pm
Doug - I see Dylan, and the whole sixties counter-culture that he set in motion, was a government plot to revolt against the government - led, of course, by the Jews.
A. Jones Added Oct 3, 2018 - 8:38pm
A land where justice is metered out to the poor . . .
 
"Metered out"?
 
You mean, "meted out."
 
(Sigh.) You are dumb, Goodwin.
 
You'd better hope the perfect, just, socialist, one-world-government you hanker after provides free remedial classes in English. You're going to need them.
opher goodwin Added Oct 4, 2018 - 3:41am
Thank you for the correction Mr Jones.
Johnny Fever Added Oct 4, 2018 - 5:19am
I’m not going to let you back track on what you originally said.  You said that we are using our power to control people, to wage war and to exploit people.  To the extent we engage in armed conflict, it’s because diplomacy has failed and we have no other choice.  We don't wage wars for the fun of it. 
 
Furthermore, we are perfectly OK with countries doing pretty much whatever they damn well please.  However, when other countries provide safe harbor to terrorists that attack us or fund terrorism, we have every right to protect ourselves by any means necessary.  Not to mention the fact some countries have proven to be irresponsible, vengeful and bloodthirsty.  These countries cannot be permitted to possess nuclear weapons. 
 
As for American companies employing third world people, you should thank them for providing these people jobs.  If those companies were forced to pay them higher wages, those jobs would disappear. 
 
As for the wealthy controlling things through illegal activity, that’s just your animosity for the rich speaking.  In case you haven’t noticed America is a country that has a progressive tax system.  That means the more money you make the higher tax rate you pay.  47% of the country pays an income tax rate of 0%.  These poor people paying 0% not the rich. If the rich were as powerful as you say, their tax rate would be 0%. 
 
The naïve guy is clearly you.  I think it’s high time you start your education by listening to non-activist music.   
opher goodwin Added Oct 4, 2018 - 9:40am
Johnny - no - war is not waged for fun. There was no diplomacy with Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. etc. The USA wages war for economic gain and political control. It ignores UN mandates and wades in.
Picking on Iraq for instance was a blind response from 9/11. There were no terrorists in Iraq. They came from Saudi.
No we should take out terrorist camps. I have no problem with that. Except these wars weren't about that were they? The terrorists didn't come from Libya, Syria, Iraq or Yemen did they? Vietnam and Cambodia were bombed and invaded because you didn't like their politics. Allende was toppled by the CIA for political reasons. Cuba was blockaded for political reasons.
Yes I'm sure that American companies moving to the third world for slave labour and no health and safety is a great thing. No exploitation there. No profiteering.
Ha Ha - I've seen that progressive tax system and how it works. Your President leads the way in tax scamming.
Many of the rich pay less tax that someone retired.
Lol - it's me that gullible and naïve. I know. Dream on. You're just the kind of person they love.
Neil Lock Added Oct 4, 2018 - 3:07pm
A. Jones: Well spotted on the "metered." But you must, surely, admit that Opher is spot on right about what his ideal society would do? Justice yesterday, justice tomorrow, but never justice today.
opher goodwin Added Oct 4, 2018 - 3:10pm
Neil - well with a Tory government how can you expect justice today?