This is what democracy sounds like! (revised)

by mike skliar

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This is what democracy sounds like! At least at this present moment, here in New York City, in February & March 2017 (and 1 track from April). This collection of 14 songs were written mostly in February 2017 as part of "February Album Writing Month" and reflect what's going on politically, personally, and more.

The title track was recorded live at at singing protest rally in Washington Square Park, NYC in February 2017, featuring yours truly and a cast of hundreds. The rest are more intimate studio recordings. This album has an unusual number of political or topical-based songs, but it's not a normal time right now in the US (or indeed many places in the world). (It's not all politics, however, and includes some upbeat reflections from a pretty lucky guy, another song with famous movie quotes, a song about a late friend, a science lesson about species extinction, and more)

All profits and proceeds from this album will be donated to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the Sierra Club

-Mike Skliar


released March 12, 2017

Mike Skliar- guitars, vocals, harmonica, banjo, mandolin, dobro/resonator guitar, bass, percussion.

On track 1, 'this is what democracy sounds like'-(recorded live at Washington Square Park, NYC) -- additional vocals, drums, percussion, and more provided by the hundreds of people in attendance at the rally-thanks, everyone! (and thanks to Evan Zucker for recording the audio and video)

All songs written by Mike Skliar (c) 2017



all rights reserved
Track Name: He's at it again
Woke up this morning, checked my phone
Once again my spirits sinking like a stone
He’s at it again, Tweeting crazy alternative facts
The day he stops tweeting will be the day that I can relax

He read somewhere that the Mexicans are to blame
Or maybe he saw it in a video game
He’s at it again, Tweeting shit he pulled out of his ass
You couldn’t make up this stuff
With two tabs of acid and some laughing gas

He thought Bill O’Reilly was his kind of man
Ted Nugent’s logic is something he can understand
He’s at it again, Hanging out with the white supremacists
He read the idiot’s guide to fascism
And he’s checking those things off his checklist

He saw Psycho one day and said ‘get me Norman Bates’
The perfect director of lodging for the whole United States
For Surgeon General, Hannabil Lechter would give him a thrill
For director of pets, Cruella de Vil
He’s at it again, Throwing everyone his bile
Like I said in my song two years ago,
Donald Trump you are completely vile

He saw Breaking Bad, thought it was kind of rough
Tuco was his kind of guy, just not crazy enough
Mussolini was too soft, why make the trains run on time?
Is it not more bigly to have a leader out of his mind?
He’s at it again, ‘till he and Kim Jon Un go into their song
Two lunatics with crazy hair, what could possibly go wrong?
(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: This is what democracy sounds like
We don’t need a Muslim ban
the constitution rules this land

Separation of church and state
America’s already great

Climate change is truly real
This is truth you can’t conceal

Love is love is love is love
Hatred must be got rid of

Black lives matter sing it out
Black lives matter time to shout

We must care for those in need
Not just reward those with greed

Immigrants they make us strong
Religious tests they are wrong

Immigrants get the job done
We’re all connected we’re all one

We don't need to build a wall
Love trumps hate and that is all

This is what democracy sounds like
This is what democracy sounds like

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Fake news is the opiate of the asses
It’s a stranger reality then I can conceive
When alternate facts start to be believed
Fake news is the opiate of the asses

A rumor that starts on an internet site
Is viewed by millions at the speed of light
Fake news is the opiate of the asses

Ignorance is the new knowledge
Derision is the new blood sport
First figure out your worldview
fill in fake facts that support

It’s so addicting to be correct
Just find the right news outlets that you can check
Fake news is the opiate of the asses

Don’t get caught with your pants down
Get your facts and figures from a phony circus clown
Fake news is the opiate of the asses

Ignorance is the new knowledge
Derision is the new blood sport
Dial in your personal prejudice
Then fill in fake facts that support

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: 6th extinction (in 5/4 time)
We’re scared of the wrong things
As species disappear
Things that we have gotten used to
May not still be here

It’s the 6th extinction,
The last one was not fun
A giant comet hit the earth
The dinosaurs were done

this is a truly odd time

this extinction’s triggered
by the hand of man
this event is bigger then
what anyone’s got planned

we are just one species
short sighted somewhat vain
we are not infallible
just cause we have brains

this is a truly odd time

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Long four years
Another winter of our discontent
Another inner monologue to be written
Feeling stranger then I have in many years
The world’s not a place that I’m fitting

Most folks around me, are baffled as well
How could all this have gone down so badly
It’s like those five stages the therapists talk about
Denial, bargaining, what would we give up gladly

The world’s gone mad, my people are sad
Its gonna be a long four years

Next year at this time, I’ll have a plan
With my brothers in arms in the resistance
It sounds more romantic then it probably is
More like putting in the hours with persistence

The world’s gone mad, my people are sad
Its gonna be a long four years

There’s a bridge to a better world, we’ll have to build it brick by brick
The art of the possible, some call it politics

The world’s gone mad, my people are sad
Its gonna be a long four years

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Reach the unreachable
Speak in parables, illustrate with a story
Just like you know who, hit ‘em with an allegory
Or get them to sing along to the song “Richard Corey”
That’s how you reach the unreachable

Appeal to the better angels of their nature
Ask about their values and put it down on paper
Discuss how that gets translated to the legislature
That’s how you reach the unreachable

They hate a certain foreigner, don’t just call them dumb
Find out where their ancestors might have come from
Talk about the days their folks were living in the slums
That’s how you reach the unreachable

They say no rights for gays, talk about their cousin or their niece
Remember when they got beat up, afraid to call the police
How would it make you feel that they could not live in peace
That’s how you reach the unreachable

They say global warming is a hoax, find out if their source of news
Comes from an oil company , with so much to lose
Like big tobacco , when lung cancer they refused
That’s how you reach the unreachable

Health insurance, another issue that really divides
Ask how they like people who take a free ride
at the hospital not paying for the care that we provide
That’s how you reach the unreachable

What’s that you say, they are still squawking socialism
Health care for all, well that’s just pragmatism
Do you want your waiter coughing in your food, go and quiz him
That’s how you reach the unreachable

And if by chance none of these approaches seem to work
The person that you’re talking to, they might just be a jerk
But his friend who might be listening, you might have given a framework
That’s how you reach the unreachable

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Goodbye Hoops
In 1998, Frank Sinatra died,
I wrote a song about it, I won’t lie,
In part, to have something to sing
When Katharine Hepburn, and others bit the dust,
I started to write what I thought I must
That obituary song became another one of my things

In the almost 20 years since that day
Wrote so many songs about people who passed away
Last year Bowie and Prince got me working overtime
a song about my grandma who died at 92
It was sad but she was old, what can you do
But what about the people who pass well before their prime

That leads me to Paul, nicknamed Hoopshank
Sometimes he sailed thru life, sometimes he almost sank
But he was always a friend, true and deep
He had more talent than the rest of us all combined
A firm grasp of every signature of time
You want a song in 13/4, he could play it in his sleep

We met in person in London in 2009
He even played guitar on a gig of mine
We started to skype and those talks were so freewheelin’
Some weeks we talked so very much
Some weeks we were sadly out of touch
But always back and picked up with that same feeling

He loved Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton
early Genesis, he could really sink his teeth in
The things he loved he’d make you love them too
Got me to watch Breaking Bad, listen to Bill Evans
The Sopranos, and Godfather, to him were heaven
So many things I appreciate hoops, because of you

A sense of humor that was all his own
Could it be that Hoops’ Rosetta stone
Was that he never lost his childlike wonder
He could relay a dream like it was all too real
An outtake of Fellini with a Bergman feel
A mind movie that shook you just like thunder

And sometimes those dreams became musical
And with a whimsy quite Dr Seussical
They’d become songs unlike any you ever heard
Here at Fawm we looked forward to
Another Hoops creation, another song new
Looking for that avatar of the crazy patchwork bird

And now that bird no longer sings
No sound of drums, or keys, or strings
I keep thinking he’ll return sooner or later
That skype light stays yellow, does not turn green
I’m starting to realize just what that means
And tho hoops and I did not believe in any supreme being, and he felt particularly sure about this one, and could quote you Richard Dawson (EDIT- I meant Dawkins! oops!) quotes till the cows, or maybe I should say ducks, came home, if there was a God at the mixing boards, I know there isn’t but if there was some sort of supreme being, and indulge me here, (and remembering the last line to rhyme with was ‘later’) maybe it’s the end of the song and he just turned down the master faders…

Goodbye Hoops you crazy spirit
so many of us shed a tear it
feels so strange that you're gone
feels so strange that you're gone

(c) 2017 M. Skliar
Track Name: Hypocrisy
She had her own e mail server
The vice president also had his own
I’ll make it brief, but the commander in chief
Tweets on an unsecured phone


Right there in the constitution
The President chooses a Supreme Court judge
The senate is supposed to advise and consent
Except with the last guy, they did not budge


If any other candidate had a staff that spent time
Meeting with Russians who messed with the vote
That candidate would never be the president
That candidate would be a footnote


(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Warning signs of Fascism
Powerful and continuous nationalism
Building a wall as a solution to immigration
obsession with national security
Banning certain religions and groups from entering this nation
Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
Ignoring climate change and scientific teachings
Demonization of the media
Banning mainstream news from press briefings

These are not just random lines, but a caution and a call to action
These are the warning signs of fascism

Religion and government intertwined
Enacting bigotry and hatred by far right Christian groups into policy
Rampart sexism
Controlling a woman’s reproductive choices while belittling woman for all to see
Widespread cronyism and corruption
Appointing leaders of largest oil companies and banks to the cabinet posts
Fraudulent elections
Encouraging Russian hacking of the democrats while attempting to suppress the vote

These are not just figments of your mind, but a caution and a call to action
These are the warning signs of fascism

Disdain for human rights
having a history of sending out racist dog whistles, hiring white supremicists as advisors
Obsession with crime and punishment
Telling the public that crime is at a 40 year high, another lie to stoke racist fires
Labor power suppressed
Taking away healthcare from the poor while the rich take as much as they can take
Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
Consistently tweeting that the free press is the enemy of the people and the news is fake

These are not just random lines, but a caution and a call to action
These are the warning signs of fascism

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos, she's the new boss, of the Department of Education
She''ll make the rules for all public schools across the nation

what were her qualifications for such an important position?
the whole idea of public schools she's in opposition

she wrote lots of checks and now she does flex her unmitigated gall
private school classes not schools for the masses are what she wants above all

no child left behind if you go to religions institutions or charters
thos who are not her kind who cares if life for them is harder

betsy devos...

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: Reflections
Spare me sad reflections on what went wrong
As you look thru dirty eyeglasses at the approaching storm
You voted for this captain, and his motley crew
Who stood at the door of knowledge yelling things not true
Spare us your thoughts that the other side was not strong
Spare me your sad reflections, face the fact that you were wrong

As the chaos is descending, reflect on what you’ve wrought
All the cheap lies and confidence games your ignorance has bought
All those easy solutions, they’re not so easy now
Its like trying to get the milk, after you’ve killed the cow
Here comes the big decline, here comes the swan song
Spare me your reflections, face the fact that you were wrong

Those fearful phony fake facts are falling at your feet
Reminding you the reasons that your thinking’s obsolete
Too late to pretend in your Pollyanna fantasy
Whose every branch bears the fruit, the fruit of a poison tree
Look into the mirror, it might take you all day long
Look at that reflection, and admit that you were wrong

(c) M. Skliar 2017
Track Name: 57 (pretty lucky guy)
57 times the earth’s been around the sun, I’ve been on that blue balloon
I’ve heard a voice from a transistor radio, talk about the men landing on the moon
I’ve seen a president resign and also a pope, I drank a little wine I smoked a little dope
I’ve never really been at the end of my rope, I’m a pretty lucky guy

57 times I’ve seen the seasons change, and I guess I’ve changed too
I’ve had long hair and short hair, too skinny, too heavy, but I’m still a New York liberal Jew
I’ve seen the towers fall, ive seen computers rise, ive seen companies grow and then downsize
Ive seen my wife smile with her eyes, I’m a pretty lucky guy

57 years old I am this week, sometimes I can’t believe it’s true
Some days aren’t perfect, but lots of time I get to do what I want to do
I’ve got no special phrase, which will surprise & amaze, just a bunch of songs documenting my days,
the route that I have taken thru this cosmic maze,
and by and large in so many ways I’m a pretty lucky guy

(c) M. Skliar