Radical Records: Liberals Get It Coming and Going

Over the last few years, the Tea Party and their ilk and predecessors have treated the name “liberal” like a self-evident indictment and a vicious epithet. You can almost hear the undertone in the way they say it, like when someone hides their name-calling in a fake cough – “commie.”

But let’s not forget that they weren’t the first to harsh on liberals…

Phil Ochs – “Love Me, I’m a Liberal”

I love this song. However, this live version does have a major cringe-inducing bit of gratuitous homophobia in it – and it gets a big laugh – something you find in other ‘right on’ songs by  60s and 70s counter-culture figures, such as Gil Scott-Heron and others.

See Phil Ochs for background.

Lyrics

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don’t talk about revolution
That’s going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I’m glad the commies were thrown out
of the AFL-CIO board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don’t move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can’t understand how their minds work
What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crane?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I read New Republic and Nation
I’ve learned to take every view
You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I’m almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I’ll send all the money you ask for
But don’t ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why I’m turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

Obviously, some of the references in the song have become more obscure with time…

Medgar  Evers was a civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated in 1963. Hopefully, the Kennedy and Malcolm X references are not, even 30 years later, obscure.

DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution – is an organization of women who can trace their descent to someone who fought in the Revolutionary War. Generally considered a very conservative organization.

Harry and Sidney and Sammy” – refers to three popular African American entertainers of the period, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis, Jr.

HumphreyHubert Humphrey, Vice President under Lyndon Johnson, and Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Nixon in 1968.

Les Crane – popular radio and TV personality with progressive social views, active in civil rights.

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