You Say You Want a Revolution

July 14th, 2010

Inspired by the storming of the Bastille 221 years ago today (at approximately 5:30 pm, local time).

“My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half of the earth desolated.” – Jefferson on his hopes for the French Revolution’s success
“If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal: terror, without which virtue is powerless.” — Robespierre
“You say you’ll change the constitution. Well you know, we’d all love to change your head… But if you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is brother you’ll have to wait.” – The Beatles

Revolutions are grand

But they sometimes get out of hand.

(Like Madame Defarge often said,

If you disagree with someone, “off with his head!”)

Sometimes revolutions are needed,

But they get out of hand when their original goals are exceeded.

Sometimes a monster is created that can’t be controlled,

And the resulting conflagration is horrible to behold.

I admire and mostly agree with Jefferson,

But on his point about the French Revolution I differ some:

I’m not in favor of widespread devastation

Of our or any other nation.

But Teabaggers and their military wing

Seem willing to sacrifice anything

To protect their “rights” as they perceive them,

Under threat, says Fox, and others who deceive them.

(They remind me of Robespierre’s crowd:

Armed and really, really loud.)

Their God-given rights include not paying tax

And subjecting their lawfully elected President to unceasing attacks.

They don’t want to follow laws they oppose

And will resort to “Second Amendment remedies,” an illegitimate government to depose.

To them, their free speech means drowning out what others say,

And loosing an election means “their” country has been taken away.

Act now and do whatever’s necessary to protect your God-given rights,

Says the right wing echo chamber that regularly violence incites.

Was the Louis 16’s government bad?

If I were a commoner, would it have made me mad?

Probably, but that doesn’t justify the Reign of Terror’s bloodshed

In which many a good man and woman lost his or her head.

Revolutions are usually bloody, which is what we have democracy to avoid,

Even when what our government does gets us annoyed.

And it’s absurd to compare the government we have now

To the tyranny unleashed by Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.

Those who say such things are fools,

And those who believe them, their pliant tools.

Believe me, I’ve lived in totalitarian countries before,

And ours isn’t anything like the system you deplore.

The Reign of Terror found scapegoats for what they hated—

Not something to be emulated.

So don’t be like the French (whom you usually make fun of),

Try acting like the people you claim to be one of.

For the rest of America, like the song says, it’s gonna be alright…

Unless, of course, we give in to the Extremist Right.


Here’s your theme song, Revolution by the Beatles. This is the fast version (also known as “Revolution 2”), released as the B side of the single Hey Jude. The slower “Revolution 1” (recorded first but released later) was released in the White Album.


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2 Responses to “You Say You Want a Revolution”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » FOX is Fair and Balanced After All Says:

    […] (Under the leadership of Obama/Stalin/Hitler/Mao). […]

  2. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Putin’s America Says:

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