"A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" as written by and Randy Newman....
I'd like to say
A few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren't bad
Nor are they mean
Now, the leaders we have
While they're the worst that we've had
Are hardly the worst
This poor world has seen

Let's turn history's pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars, for example
Why, with the first few of them
They were sleeping with their sister, stashing little boys in swimming pools, and burning down the city
And one of 'em, one of 'em appointed his own horse to be Counsel of the Empire
That's like vice president or something
That's not a very good example right now, is it?
But here's one:
Spanish Inquisition
That's a good one
Put people in a terrible position
I don't even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words
In defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now, we don't want their love
And respect at this point's pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Men who need no introduction

King Leopold of Belgium, that's right
Everyone thinks he's so great
Well, he owned the Congo
He tore it up too
Took the diamonds
Took the silver
Took the gold
You know what he left 'em with?


You know, a president once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Now it seems like we're supposed to be afraid
It's patriotic, in fact
What we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That's what terror means, doesn't it?
That's what it used to mean

You know, it pisses me off a little that this Supreme Court's gonna outlive me
Couple young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world, to find me two Italians as tight ass as the two Italians we got
And as for the brother
Well, Pluto's not a planet anymore either

The end of an empire
Is messy at best
And this empire's ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada
Adrift on the sea
We're adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free



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"A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" as written by Randy Newman


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    General CommentI get the message, but don't see what Leopold II of Belgium has to do with all this. Of all the historical figures, is he really the one to choose to describe colonialism and tyranny? Hmmm... I know worst examples...
    martinberardon August 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this song...different from all the song I've listened to.
    bear_hug20on October 21, 2008   Link
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    General CommentI really enjoy this song. Here's a transcript of Randy's introduction to this number on his Live in London Album (2011):

    "When I came to Europe last, it was a few years ago, I recognized fairly soon that people here didn't like us very much, speaking as a country as I often do, and I understood it, but I wanted to do something to try and explain it, so I wrote this song."

    *End Transcript*

    The line that most gives me pause in this song is "And as for the brother, Pluto's not a planet any more either."

    What do you suppose he means by that? Is he saying simply that times have changed and so now it's possible for a black man can to serve on the Supreme Court? Or is he saying that , just as the Italians on the Supreme Court are unusually "tight-assed" for a pair of Italians, so too is Clarence Thomas unusually straight-laced for a black man?
    pikabooon October 04, 2012   Link
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    General CommentI'm from Germany and as pikabooon quoted Randy, we didn't like the USA very much at some times (especially during Bush Junior's presidency) and many still don't today. It often felt like watching our spoiled younger brother walking around pulling other children's hair and destroying their sand castles, generally being a giant dick and getting away with it. And then we tend to go on and rant about that stupid idiot. So it's good to have this song to remind us that while he may be an unbearable brat, he's still our brother and should have a reliable friend in us. Also it's a quite unpleasant but all the more necessary reminder what a bunch of aggressive spoiled brats we used to be so there's no justification for patronizing.
    He's still a pest sometimes, but "hardly the worst this poor world has seen".
    Also the USA as a country might have done some terrible things but that does not mean, that the US-Americans as a people are bad or mean.
    So when I find myself or a fellow German rant about the USA I listen to this song to ease my mind.

    @martinberard: That's the whole point of that line. You think you know worse examples. But you'd be hard pressed to actually name one. Leopold stands for all the European tyrants, we have forgotten.
    When Randy says "he owned the Congo", that's not just a figure of speech. The Congo was not a colony of Belgium but of Leopold. And in the 20 years he owned it, he squeezed as much rubber and ivory out of it as possible.
    For the Congolese that meant constant slavery, torture, rape and murder.
    After 20 years 10 million, half the population had been slaughtered.
    I don't want to go into details, because I didn't come here to preach. You can look it up yourself.
    notthatguyon February 26, 2013   Link

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