Poem: Is This The Life We Really Want? – Roger Waters

Is this the life we really want?
The concept of an average guy is patently absurd
There’s too much differential in the herd
Just look at Bush and Cheney then look at you and me
It’s like comparing Shakespeare to reality TV

Is this the life we really want?
Being murdered by these clownsour children crushed in rubble
Are we defened by the sound of media mouths all moving in apparent unity
Spewing out the mantra of the free

Free to plan the near land safe in their bomb-proof layers
Free to send our sons to war, our sons of course not theirs
Free to burn and pillage, to fill the family vault
Free to claim it’s dog-eat-dog and really not their fault

Fear drives the mills of modern man
Fear keeps us all in line
Fear of all those foreigners
Fear of all their crimes

Is this the life we really want?

It surely must be so, for this is a democracy and what we all say goes
We all say kill Bin Laden, kill Saddam Hussein
Kill anyone collateral that might get in the way
Kill all the dogs and shopkeepers
Kill all the coppersmiths
Kill everyone who crossed chooses to be on the evil list
Kill everyone who doesn’t want to be our acolyte
Kill everyone who disagrees that what we say is right
It’s going to cost us trillions, already has in fact…but no price is too heavy to keep the faith intact

Because we believe in freedom
Human rights for everyone
Well, everyone that is except the ones we need to bomb
And if some of them are children seem a bit forlorn
It’s not our fault – they should have chosen somewhere different to be born

Anyway, I’m sure they’re all agree
It’s a success when we’ve killed all the insurgents and tidied up the mess
Even though they may be crippled or rotting underground
They’ll be happy when democracy is the only game in town

They can help to build our bases
They can wash your fancy cars
They can service all our carnal needs
And pickup joint sandbars

Against their religion
…pfft…their religions wrong
I’m sure they’ll get the hang of it, catch on before too long

Then they can all watch baseball
They can build a Disneyland
Eat pizza and McDonalds
Drink bourbon, start a band

I know, I know…no alcohol
The towel heads don’t drink but then **** they’ll soon get used to it
We’ll teach them how to drink

I digress – I’m sorry, what was my train of thought?
Oh yes, now I remember…
Is this what we all want to be devoting our resources to?
To spread this rotten creed teaching their dead children avarice and greed?

Was it Truman Capote who famously railed:
“It’s not enough that I succeed I need others to fail”
Is that the life we really want to set ourself at odds with every other species?
Not to mention of the gods
I don’t think so

In general my experience has been that ordinary Americans when asked to cite their dream
Conjure an existence where they can raise their kids without the chafe of blowing other people’s kids to bits

Is it my imagination?
Is it too much to suggest that their leaders over there and our leaders in the West
Are driven not by trying to achieve peace in our time but by something else?
By something altogether less sublime?
Call me a cynic but it sometimes seems to me that some of them are more attached to power than to peace

Just supposing for a moment that they’re in it for the cash
That they’re looking out for number one
Building up their stash
What better way to divert the attention of the poor
Than an axis of evil and a good old-fashioned war?

It’s like economics 101 as every schoolboy knows
War is good for business and diverts us from our words
It’s so unpatriotic to complain about our lot
When our brave boys are out there in the desert getting shot

Imagine if the money that we’re spending on the war
Was used instead to rebuild dykes and help rehouse the poor
To research cures for cancer
And fund institute’s to delve into ways of helping people less well-off than ourselves

To secure our dogs and airports and our power stations
To prevent the disaffected in our own and other nations from expressing their attachment
To some vengeful deity and self-immolation emulating you and me

Or is it power that gets them?
Being able to decide how to divvy up the cake
Who should live who should die?
To have at their disposal those sexy tanks and planes
“Got you” “No, I got you first” – reliving boyhood games

Why don’t we just stop them
Why don’t we get tough
Take to the streets in millions say enough is enough

It’s obvious because actually we, that’s you and me that’s all of us
Because actually we all the blacks and all the whites, ricanas, asians
Every type of ethnic group
Even folks from Guadalupe
The old, the young, the toothless hags,
The supermodels, actors, fags
Football stars, men in bars, washerwomen
Tailors, tarts, grannys, grandpas
Uncle’s , aunts, friends, relations, homeless tramps
Clerics, truckers, cleaners, ants

…Maybe not ants
Because it’s true that ants don’t have enough IQ to differentiate between the pain that other people feel
And well for instance cutting leaves or crawling across windowsills in search of open trickle tunes

So like the ants are we just dumb?
Is that why we don’t feel or see?
Or are we really just numbed out on reality TV?

So every time – every time – the roadside mine
The guided bomb
The Ricochet
The Gatling gun
The tomahawk
The Phantom mirage RF score
The false hello
The cluster bomb with fries to go
Every time the curtain falls on some forgotten foreign life

Rest assured it is because we did nothing to prevent our master’s, dedicated as they are
Not the protection of the weak, not to democracy
That we did nothing to prevent their head long dash to maximize the bottom line

So what, if anything, to do?
Understand that every day in many small but central ways
We get to choose enslavement to the bottom line with all that that implies
Did I mention freedom fries?
Anyway we get to choose or so we’re all led to believe
Well now in 2-0-0-8, election year, who knows?
It may well be too late
But just suppose, just suppose if we all vote
And we can start to bridge the gap between what we all have become and what we all just might have been
The gap between the blind and blinkered great unwashed
The laughing stock
The butt of universal scorn
And enmity
And wrath
And grace
And pride
And leadership
And light
And beacon shining in the West admired by both the old world and the third
Safe haven for the lauded claims in constitutions written fair on parchment years ago

When equality, fraternity and liberty were rocks coal-bedded in an earth emerging from a darker age
I do believe that we can spread our wings, take flight
Renounce the darkness of the marketplace
Reach out across the ideologues abyss
Embrace our longing to be kind our eye
And have more fun and garnish less the moneylenders nests
And touch
And sing
And breathing relish of our new unfettered selves
Embrace the law in that we all agree that standard issue kicking in our door
Tapping phones
Rendition torture
Waterboarding and the rest
The random shooting down on London’s underground of someone’s nephew from Brazil

However scared the powers that be
Are alien to our beliefs
And so should be confined to memories of Hitler’s Reich
And of course to Uncle Joe’s Gulag

So are we babies that we need to be protected from ourselves?
That left unfettered thrashing we might hurt ourselves
That they the chain is Putins Bushes Blares and all their spawn born
And all their heirs
And all the ruinous bankrupt fearful crap
That they should somehow have the power to keep us at each other’s throats
Impotent straitjacketed squabbling over dimes and growths
Like infants in our swaddled clothes

**** them
They’ve had their time
A new day dawns
And we will not be swaddled in there grime


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