Phonogram Copyright 2006 Signature Sound Recordings

Lyrics and Music by Chris Smither

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This tongue-in-cheek song by Chris Smither was a revelation on the first hearing, and continues to be a revelation on subsequent hearings.

It’s not at all certain what the title “Diplomacy” means in connection to the song, or even if it has anything to do with the song, but the irony in the lyrics is hilarious.

For instance the line, “And if you leave it, you get it anyway.” in answer to the line, “Take it or leave it, it’s the deal of the day.” is the perfect metaphor for today’s situation vis-vis the relationship between “We the People” and the so-called “leadership” of the nation.

No matter what “We the People” want, it seems that we always wind up getting just what they (those who own us) want. With the abrogation of our civil rights contained in the first ten amendments to the Constituion (the Bill of Rights), the expectation now seems to be that no questions are to be asked, because none will be answered.

And the line “This ain’t a joke, it’s an epitaph.” sums up the situation perfectly. Which could be taken to mean that if a person does “get out of line” or “sticks up out of the grass,” they’ll regret ever thinking that the nation continues to be the “land of the free.”

Smither seeems to be saying, “Whether you like it or not, hat up pilgrims and get with the program, because they’ll have your hinder if you don’t.

And, of course, the business about “the rise and the fall” being “the name of the game” is reminiscent of a book by a fellow name of Gibbon writ about the Roman Empire.

It’s gettin’ edgy, we better find a war.
There must be somethin’ worth fightin’ for.

Peace is so peaceful, it ain’t a way to survive.
When nobody hates you nobody knows you’re alive.

We got the guns, we got the oilmen too.
They’re like a choir, they wanna sing for you.

Wham! Bam! Slip slidin’ away.
You know the less you got, the more you gonna pay.

You want it, you’ll get it, we got what you need.
You ain’t got to sweat it, we gonna make you bleed.

We got some freedom, we got the iPod store.
We got the savior, you couldn’t ask for more.

Take it or leave it, that’s the deal of the day.
But if you leave it, you get it anyway.

You want it, you’ll get it, we got what you need.
You ain’t got to sweat it, we gonna make you bleed.

Get your coat on, you ain’t supposed to laugh.
This ain’t a joke, it’s an epitaph.

It’s the rise and the fall, that’s the name of the game.
We got the land of the free, blind and leadin’ the lame.
We got the land of the free, blind and leadin’ the lame.
We got the land of the free, blind and leadin’ the lame.

William Christopher Smither
(November 11, 1944 — Miami, Florida)


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