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The Rosett Report

“The government dole will rot your soul”

January 31st, 2012 - 10:48 pm

Just 46 more states, two conventions and nine more months till we get to go into the voting booths and mark the hanging chads — or whatever technological wizardry awaits us in this next election. I still remember, with disconcerting fondness, a report many years ago of a voting machine in Chicago that managed to fall out of a window on election day. For that matter, having lived in Chicago for a while in the late 1970s, I occasionally wonder if, with no effort on my part, I have continued voting there ever since.

Anyway, while I have enormous respect for the democratic process, right now this campaign year looks interminable. Take your comfort where you find it.

In that spirit, I’m going to take a break tonight from the debates about the debates, the perfidies of multilateral institutions and the horrors of assorted tyrants who do indeed have designs on our general well-being. This is a note about music. A few months ago, my husband came across the music of Stan Rogers, a Canadian folk singer. Rogers died young, in 1983, in an airplane fire. But during his short span, he  wrote some terrific songs, most of them about the sea-faring life. All by himself, he’s a reason to pay more attention to Canada (which has been looking better and better lately).

Stan Rogers  wrote a song — OK, there’s no getting away from politics — which, if you feel a certain affinity for ideas about individual rights and responsibilities, is immensely cheering. The lyrics include the phrase above, “The government dole will rot your soul,” and the toe-tapping line “I like being free and that makes me an idiot I suppose.” The title is “The Idiot.” It’s a treat — two minutes and 53 seconds well spent.

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