Shutdown This Anthem

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 7, 2013
Berkeley, Ca


As we enter week 2 of gov’t-gone-blooie and Saturday Night Live has rendered its own anthem, we here at Berkeley Reporter are raiding the Irving Berlin songbook.

Berlin, a Jewish immigrant, who gave us White Christmas on the way to chronicling U.S. history in lyrics, was the voice of America even before modern radio.

Here’s what he had to say about sequesters, depressions, shutdowns, and wars in 1946’s “Annie Get Your Gun.” (Annie get your gun on the tea party?)

“Taking stock of what I have and what I haven’t
What do I find?”

“Got no diamond
Got no pearl…”

“Got no mansion
Got no yacht…”

“Got no checkbooks
Got no banks…”

“Got no silver
Got no gold…”

“Got no heirlooms
For my kin…”


“What I got can’t be bought or sold
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.”

Did Irv (real name Israel) say moon and sun? Isn’t that too little and too light?
Not if you read: you have the next day of your life.

Too little? Your life is too ruined to welcome tomorrow? Historical accounts of stockbrokers jumping to their deaths in 1929 have been corrected (someone may have fallen off a chair) and Wall Street has bounced back from its latest bump, survived an occupation, and now rolls in dough.

As journalists plan stories of americans surviving the shutdown, Berkeley Reporter is listening to Berlin’s Annie and her guns.

Gives me a lovely day
Gives me the Milky Way…”

“… I’d like to express my thanks.”

And so would we. Thank you, Israel Isidore Berlin, 1888-1989.

And thanks to the suicidal Tea Party for saving themselves from Annie Oakley.

Opinions here do not represent those of publications in which my work appears.

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