CLBSJ Opening Celebration

Hillel Arnold

The CLBSJ Opening Celebration at Stony Point Center on Oct 22, 2011 featured both music and drama. Among the performers was beloved and venerable folk singer Charlie King. He brought the house down with a song, the lyrics of which are below. You can purchase Charlie’s music at http://www.charlieking.org/.

Our Problems Stem From Our Acceptance of this Filthy Rotten System*

© Charlie King, May 2009

Eight years we bravely battled Bush – that smug, self-righteous frat boy on a bender

We marched against his endless war, we rallied every race and class and gender

Our hearts were new, our states were blue, our aim was true & yet we always missed him

Perhaps our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system

We caucused, called, and canvassed for Barack, raised cash and voter registration

Triumphantly we tuned in to debate, acceptance speech, inauguration

Joe Biden kvelled “He talks so well!” And when he won, by god I could’ve kissed him

But don’t our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system?

Then having vanquished Bush & Darth we all return to home & hearth & cable

We thought we’d crashed the party, but we ain’t even sitting at the table

Now corporate flacks and party hacks surround Barack, all eager to assist him

D’ya think our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system?

We work within the system while we visualize a peaceful world ahead
We vote the lesser evil, pay our taxes, raise our children, earn our bread
Our lives replay like Groundhog’s Day & every day we pray it will be different
The faces change, the mighty fall, the tables turn but still and all
The setting sun salutes the same old system

And winners croon the same old tune “Forget the past, why waste your time & tears?

Or hoping for a better future – there’s a laugh – it’s been like this for years.

Go with the flow, the status quo, our leaders know - it’s useless to resist them.”

But if our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system

Then mourn the dead and fight like hell and when in doubt, Resist! Rebel!
Remember Rome first rose, then fell, and so must ev’ry system.

  • “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” Dorothy Day, as quoted in Women on War: Essential Voices for the Nuclear Age (1988), by Daniela Gioseffi, p. 103.