If I had a Rocket Launcher, I’d aim it at the Federal Reserve (in Homage to Bruce Cockburn)

Bruce Cockburn is a Canadian folk-singer with a high mind and a social conscience.  He undoubtedly considers himself a liberal.   Cockburn might well be appalled to learn that a right-wing radical like myself was incorporating a couple of his songs into his own right-wing ideological repertoire—but then, perhaps this is one of those moments when radicals on both sides find common ground.  The primary difference between Cockburn and myself is that he probably sees the United States as one of the chief purveyors of violence and injustice to the rest of the world; and while this is indisputably and absolutely true, I read his songs as an American Citizen, resident of the future North American Nation of PANEM,  as one of the victims of precisely the same violence and injustice, only visited by my own government on me and “my fellow Americans.”

Bruce Cockburn recorded this first song, “Call it Democracy” on September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of that day of infamy known as 9/11/01: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68zccrskOqQ

By an odd coincidence of sorts, this was my first 9/11 back in the USA (Cambridge, Mass., actually) after being forcibly repatriated to the U.S. on the orders of U.S. Southern District of Texas Judge Janis Graham Jack, having spent the previous 9/11 in Cockburn’s home country of Canada with no plans of ever returning to the USA.   I totally agree with what Cockburn says about the IMF and its debilitating effect on the Third World.  But for the IMF and NAFTA, Mexico might well have remained the beautiful, peaceful and quiet place it was right up through Pope John Paul II’s first visit there in January 1979—the month during which Mexico’s creole government’s excellent and highly responsible national birth control program was first attacked to the point of almost instantaneous dismantlement.  

But substitute the words “Federal Reserve” for “IMF” and “Call it Democracy” becomes a description of the degradation of the United States of America by “insupportable debt” under the quintumvirate of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama over the past 33 years:

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt.

The next song: If I had a rocket launcher, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9HFjErMMlA).  Cockburn encapsulates and articulates how I feel about U.S. Foreign Policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and indeed, all the Central American Countries that were the focus of Cockburn’s lyric folk poetry in the 1980s.  To modernize this 1984 song for the Obamanation we live in today, just substitute the words “stealth drone” for “helicopter”. Afghanistan for Guatemala, and (soon coming to a river near you) “Mississippi” for the “Rio Lacantún”.  As it happens I’ve never been to Afghanistan but I certainly have been all along the Rio Lacantún and I know its people very well.  

When I was indicted in December 1999 I was instructed that I could not own any guns.  My son at 7 was much too young to take my collection and his mother Elena was uninterested.  My grandmother (who died with a gun beside her bed) was too old to worry about such things, although she cared.  Many people in Mexico had previously asked me to bring down American firearms because gun sales were controlled and regulated in Mexico for a long time.  So in January 2000 I arranged to deliver donate my entire firearm collection to the Maya Resistance in Chiapas. The Yucatec Maya with whom I worked at Chichén Itzá and elsewhere were great admirers of their cousins in Chiapas (many of whom were in fact Lacandon Maya who speak a “hill country” dialect of the Yucatec language).   I’m sure my 300 some odd weapons went to good use, so I have no regrets whatsoever about making this gift and passing on a legacy of patriotic resistance from Texas to the Maya Lowlands (which were once joined in an alliance during the 1840s when both areas were secessionist Republics breaking away from Mexico).  In fact, making this donation was one of the ways in which I made sure that I followed my grandfather’s advice in “always turning a bad thing into a good thing.”  

So I ask you: IF YOU HAD A ROCKET LAUNCHER: against whom would you aim it?  And I ask you again: IS IT NOT PART OF OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS THAT WE ALL SHOULD HAVE ROCKET LAUNCHERS, as part of a “Well-Regulated Militia” of Freedom Loving Americans?

Here comes the helicopter — second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they’ve murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher…I’d make somebody pay

I don’t believe in guarded borders and I don’t believe in hate
I don’t believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher…I would retaliate

On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation — or some less humane fate
Cry for Guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher…I would not hesitate

I want to raise every voice — at least I’ve got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher…Some son of a bitch would die.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s