Tuesday, November 02, 2010

"Mr. President, have pity on the working man."

The Song: "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)," Randy Newman. Words & music by Randy Newman. Track 4 of Good Old Boys, 1974.
How/when acquired: Purchased LP, 1988.
Listen to a clip here.

This might be the last vinyl album I ever bought. The turntable wasn't mine; it belonged to my then-fiance, and I haven't owned one since. I still own the LP, though. It lives in a cedar chest in my bedroom, and I wonder how badly the years have warped it.

Good Old Boys is a concept album that became the soundtrack for a musical version of All the King's Men produced at Washington's Arena Stage in 1988. The show blew me away, and it's still one of the best live performances I've ever seen; I don't know why it never went anywhere. But I needed the music, so I bought the album.

I voted for President Barack Obama. I still believe in him. I still like him. It still makes me happy that we elected him President; I was never prouder of my country than I was on Election Night 2008. But I have to admit that he seems a little out of touch.

It's not so unusual in Washington, a city full of people who grew up being the smartest kids in class. It takes a while to figure out that "smart" is not always what the situation calls for. Some people never do. Today's election might deliver that lesson in some painful ways, and I hope we all learn the right things from it.

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