"We Can’t Make It Here" as written by and James Mcmurtry....
There's a Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
The flag on his wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing and both hands free

No one?s paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget?s just stretched so thin
And now there's more coming back from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

And that big ol? building was the textile mill
That fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
'Cause we can't make it here anymore

You see those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna sit there ?til they rot
?Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks

Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here unless you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar?s still open but man it?s slow
The tip jar?s light and the register?s low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

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. C.E.O.
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one your stores
I bet you can't make it here anymore

And there's a high school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that

If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career and forget about school
Can she live on faith? Live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it?s way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore

Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
?Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore

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 shit don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in their damn little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will I work for food, will I die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks

So let ?em eat jellybeans let ?em eat cake
Let ?em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

So that's how it is, that's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper, read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind if you're listening at all
Get out of that limo, look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone tell us all why

In Dayton Ohio or Portland Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool

Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley and trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

Lyrics submitted by Textana

"We Can't Make it Here" as written by James Mcmurtry

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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We Can’t Make It Here song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is James McMurty’s views on the current U.S. political and economical situation. “We can’t make it here” primarily refers to the loss of U.S. jobs to countries overseas. He talks about the closed stores and factories and the fact that the things in the stores that used to be made here are now made overseas. He’s not mad at the people who now have the jobs, he is mad at the politicians who made the policies that have created this situation.

    You could also take “We can’t make it here anymore” to mean we can’t survive here anymore. His comments on the low minimum wage, the working poor, and the returning vets overrunning the system could be interpreted this way.

    McMurty always paints interesting stories with his music, this is certainly one of his strongest statements to date.
    Textanaon February 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTotally agree with Textana. Great track by the way.
    Themactatoron February 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI recently stumbled upon a performance of his on pbs's austin city limits, i was impressed to say the least, This was my introduction to him. It was great to see a politically liberal musician that probably appeals to the right-wing country crowd. But they are too stubborn to understand. Yeah you can't put all the blame on the workers, the crooked politicans are largely at fault on this one.

    I feel somewhat ashamed for not previously knowing of this artist, but now I have another great songwriter to add to that list.
    necrophageon June 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat an attack on present day United States and the political climate here! I couldn't have said it better myself! George W. Bush is fast completing the vision of America that Reagan had, only he's screwing us harder and in ways that Reagan couldn't have imagined!
    Susan_The_BassPlayeon November 25, 2007   Link

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