Bankers, Large and Small
During the height of the banking crisis, my bank, Citizen’s Bank in Corvallis, Oregon, dropped us customers an e-mail. It was written in bankerese, but what it meant was: “Hey, with respect to all that sub-prime loan mess—those loans never made any sense to us. We don’t have a horse in that race.” Citizen's Bank is a small locally-owned bank.
Upon learning of the mega-bankers' multimillion-dollar bonuses they received for destroying the economy for the rest of us while absorbing billions in taxpayer bailouts, in a fit of serious irritation, I wrote some song lyrics. I had just listened to a documentary about Woody Guthrie, so my lyrics came out sung (roughly) to the tune of the Woody Guthrie song “I ain’t got no home.” This tune is roughly the same as A.P Carter’s song “Can’t feel at Home,” which is about the same as Albert E. Brumley’s song “This world is not my home,” all of which are essentially the same as a tune that appeared in print in a hymnal in 1909 and which is probably even older in oral tradition. I consider the tune public domain. (Guthrie copyrighted it, but at best that copyright covers only his specific version, I believe.)
As for my lyrics: I hereby grant permission to any and all to sing or record these lyrics for all purposes noncommercial or commercial, as long as the lyrics are attributed to me and are not altered, and a mention or link is provided to caroldeppe.com. May this song go forth into the world and help in the fight for justice.
(by Carol Deppe; copyright 2010)
I’ve been busted down to nothing. Got no money. Lost my job.
I’ve been slammed into the gutter, just another broken sod.
My taxes saved the bankers, but they kicked me out the door.
And I don’t have a home in this world anymore.
Every banker owns a senator, a senator or two.
Every senator’s been bought, bought and paid for through and through.
So there’s bailouts for the bankers but there’s no jobs for the poor.
And I don’t have a job in this world anymore.
The credit card companies make the rules to break your back.
Then they change the rules and trick you, until you’re busted flat.
They’re evil and despicable, dishonest to the core.
And I don’t have any credit in this world anymore.
Goldman Sachs invented funny money and laughed when it went south.
Now the whole rest of the world is living hand to mouth.
Goldman Sachs gets even richer. It sure does make me sore.
And there isn’t any justice in this world anymore.
We’ve been pushed beyond endurance, and one day we will rebel.
We’ll grab those greedy bankers, and we’ll really give them hell.
We will take back our nation. You will hear a mighty roar.
And we won’t be slaves to bankers in this world anymore.
Shortly after composing “Bankers,” I went to Citizen's Bank. Barb, one of the tellers, greeted me by name and asked me how I was coming with The Book (The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-reliance in Uncertain Times). (Now available.)
“Great!” I said. “I just got word this morning that the manuscript has been officially accepted!”
Barb cheered. "That must be quite a relief!" she said.
“It sure is!” I said. “I can't believe what I got away with! Chapters on climate change, diet, and poultry, all in a gardening book! And it's long. 180,000 words. They didn't even object to my kiddie song about ducks, 'It's Great to be a Ducky in the Rain.' They accepted all 180,000 words!”
A week later I got a card from Citizen's Bank congratulating me on having my book officially accepted. It was signed by everyone in the bank.I like my books big but my banks small.