The Ghost Of Lyndon Baines Johnson Wonders Where The Hell His Statue Is

Now, just because a body doesn’t have a diploma from Harvard

Don’t mean he’s never read a goddamn speech.

High-falutin’ words are all well and good,

And I do not discount the value of inspiration,

Even as it relates to perspiration, but I tell you this;

Your red-hot flamethrowers can shout about justice and integrity

To a mostly empty chamber, and they can feel mighty proud

Of themselves as they sit in some overstuffed chair

Back at the Yale Club, but all those golden declarations

And lofty phrases cannot deliver the goods.


They said I turned my back on the poor—hell, more than that,

Sold the Negro right down the river, if you believe what the liberals,

Sittin’ all cozy in their Upper West Side apartments, will tell you.

Well, they’ve never walked a mile in my shoes,

Never lived with Mexican kids who couldn’t go to school

For more than a couple months at a time—hell, if at all,

Because there were cabbages and cotton to pick,

And that couple of dollars a day was the only thing between

The ability to stay in those shacks sittin’ hard by the sewers

Drainin’ right into the Pedernales and flat-out roughin’ it.

Let me ask you, were ideals gonna put dinner on the table?

Was some speech gonna keep rain from comin’ through the roof?

Your Georgetown set would have you believe that justice

Would sweep over the South like some great wave

That would magically transform everything in its path.

That is not how change works, friend; it comes about

Through votes and deals and twisting arms, and it is

A long slog through the swamp—step, step, stop to catch your breath

And then another couple of steps, and those genteel types

Who spend all their time reading books instead of men

Will sink under the lilies and pond scum

As soon as they take a step off of solid ground.


I thought I was a dead man back in ’56, you know;

When you feel like someone dropped an anvil on your chest

And then proceeds to sit on top of it…well, I always wanted

To meet my maker, but I wasn’t in that big of a hurry.

Besides, there was work to be done, and I was bound and determined

That I wasn’t goin’ anywhere until I was satisfied I’d finished the job.

Folks say that when it’s your time, it’s your time,

But I had no intention of departing this world

Until I was damn sure my count showed

That I had a veto-proof majority among the angels.


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