Margaret Thatcher is dead and good riddance.
I thought it was a funny coincidence when I heard the news this morning because it was just yesterday that I listened to and shared on Facebook "Stand Down, Margaret" by the English Beat and it got me thinking.
i said i see no joy
i see only sorry
i see no chance of your bright new tomorrow
Lyrics from href
The careers of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were remarkably similar. They shared the same malign perspective of favor the rich and screw all the rest. They each took the opportunity to crush a union, the air traffic controllers here, the coal miners in England. Perhaps Reagan surpassed Thatcher in racism, although it could be that I don't know enough about Thatcher to express an opinion.
One tremendous difference, though, is that in England Thatcher inspired a wealth of oppositional popular music, like Stand Down, Margaret, whereas there was nothing like that in the United States.
Listen to "Tramp the Dirt Down" by Elvis Costello.
Well I hope I don't die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I'll be a good boy, Im trying so hard to behave
Because there's one thing I know, I'd like to liv
Long enough to savour
That's when they finally put you in the ground
Ill stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.
I don't know of a similar body of anti-Reagan music in the United States. The only thing that comes close is He Got Hungry and Forgot His Manners by Jimmy Breslin. Breslin is every bit as angry at Reaganism as Costello is at Thatcherism, but what really stands out is how rare it is.
Still, as Slate points out, there is a wealth of anti-Thatcher music, and with good reason.
But if we had more of that here in America we wouldn't have Republicans winning elections by railing against inheritance taxes and income taxes for the obscenely rich, while trying to dismantle health care for the poor and aged.
Labels: Elvis Costello, English Beat, Reagan, Stand Down Margaret, Thatcher