Stumbling upon them, this evening, I thought the words were particularly appropriate, tonight; timeless; as pertinent now—maybe not for the exact same reasons, however, but not too far removed from their original intent, either--as they were when he wrote the words, 32+ years ago.
This really resonates, IMHO…
The New Deal
I have believed in my convictions
And have been convicted for my beliefs
Conned by the constitution
And harrased by the police.
I've been billed for the bill of rights
And been treated like I was wrong.
I have become a special amendment
For what included me all along.
Like "All men are created equal."
(No amendment needed here)
I've contributed in every field including cotton
From Sunset Strip to Washington Square.
Back during the non-violent era.
I was the only non-violent one.
As a matter of fact there was no non-violence
'cause too many rednecks had guns.
There seems to have been this pattern
That a lot of folks failed to pick up on.
But all black leaders who dared stand up
Wuz in jail, in the courtroom or gone.
Picked up indiscriminately
By the shocktroops of discrimination
To end up in jails or tied up in trails
While dirty tricks soured the nation.
I've been hoodwinked by professional hoods.
My ego has happened to me.
"It'll be alright, just keep things cool!"
"And take the people off the street.
We'll settle all this at the conference table.
You just leave everything to me."
Which gets me back to my convictions
And being convicted for my belief
'cause I believe these smiles
in three piece suits
with gracious, liberal demeanor
took our movement off of the streets
and took us to the cleaners
In other words, we let up the pressure
And that was all part of their plan
And every day we allow to slip through our fingers
Is playing right into their hands
Much like some of my other posts, where I respect the author’s work too much to dilute their intent with my own commentary, I think I’ll just let Gil Scott-Heron’s words speak for themself. I would also recommend checking out another piece on this album, originally entitled: “We Beg Your Pardon (Pardon Our Analysis),” an earlier work whose title he modified (he may have rewritten some of the words, too; not sure) on this later album to: “We Beg Your Pardon, America (Pardon Our Analysis).”
Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011), R.I.P.