We Can't Make It Here - James McMurtry

In light of current economic failure and the impending federal bailout, I would suggest an analysis of the song We Can't Make it Here by James McMurtry. McMurtry continues the long tradition of balladeers who utilize the medium of music to demand accountability and force the listener to examine the world. Songs like Cheney's Toy and Ruby Carlos offer a searing account of the United State under the George W. Bush regime.

In "We Can't Make it Here", McMurtry assails the current economic policies which have left the working class of our country teetering on the brink of disaster.

"That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore"

It is not only the plight of the working poor that McMurtry addresses. He also shines a light on the widening gap between the rich and the poor which have been exacerbated by the tax policies and corporate deregulation.

"Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore"

So who should get the blame for the plight of our country? The minorities, the undocumented workers, or some amorphous concept of "market forces"? McMurtry again points his guitar at the policy makers who are typically immune from the impacts of their decisions.

"Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the damn little war
And we can't make it here anymore"

Have a listen to McMurty performing We Can't Make It Here.