It’s time to take a (brief) break from guns and poses and get into the holiday spirit, so here’s one of my favorite Christmas songs—but still strongly political and still very much relevant to our times.
It’s from one of my longtime favorites, and star of stage and TV screen, Steve Earle. He wrote “Christmas in Washington” way back in 1996 with a Democrat in the White House, Bill Clinton, who was about to start his second term in a time of severe economic distress (some forget that these days) for working men and women.
It’s Christmastime in Washington
The Democrats rehearsed
Gettin’ into gear for four more years
Things not gettin’ worse
The Republicans drink whiskey neat
And thanked their lucky stars
They said, ‘He cannot seek another term
They’ll be no more FDRs’
I sat home in Tennessee
Staring at the screen
With an uneasy feeling in my chest
And I’m wonderin’ what it means
So come back Woody Guthrie
Come back to us now
Tear your eyes from paradise
And rise again somehow
Later in the song he laments, “Killers on the highway,” “foxes in the henhouse” and “the unions have been busted.” Besides Woody, he wishes for the return of Emma Goldman, Joe Hill, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Note: Steve, early on, also wrote a fine, more traditional, Christmas song, “Nothing But a Child.”