For the Love of Money

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Lyrics from a few songs have been playing in my head for the last few days because they seem to fit the times we’re in.

“Oh, mercy, mercy me.  Oh, things ain’t what they used to be.”  (Marvin Gay, “Mercy, Mercy Me” released on the seminal What’s Going On album in 1971).  The song is subtitled "The Ecology" and certainly fits in with current concerns about the environment, however this particular snippet sums up how I'm feeling about the U.S. today.

Things ain't what they used to be and they never really were what they seemed.  We've been living in an illusion, caught up The Matrix, believing the spin we've been in.  (Some of us believing more deeply than others.)

The current state of the U.S. economy -  prompted by the sub-prime mortgage crisis,  resulting from greed, the loss of individual ethics of a whole bunch of individuals, and the deregulation of the entire financial industry to "give a few gentlemen ease" (a line from the poem Strong Men, Getting Stronger by Sterling Brown) 

The Ojays wrote and sang about the perils of money in their 1989 hit, “For the Love of Money.”  The lyrics are apropos of the current si-chi-ation (an urban pronunciation of the word situation).

“Money money money money, Mo-ney (x6)
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y'all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, yall

For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can't even walk the street
Because they never know who in the world they're gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don't care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money
A woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money
All for the love of money
Don't let, don't let, don't let money rule you
For the love of money
Money can change people sometimes
Don't let, don't let, don't let money fool you
Money can fool people sometimes
People! Don't let money, don't let money change you,
it will keep on changing, changing up your mind.”

 

Many folks let Money fool them and lose their good sense for money.  Rich people wanted, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money” (from the skit, “Homeboy Shopping Network” on In Living Color). 

One would think that there’d come a time when rich ones had enough money but, as we've heard many times:
“You can never be too rich or too thin.”  (This quote is attributed to wealthy American socialite Babe Paley and to Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor.)  It turns out that as a society, because of conditions like anorexia, we have come to the conclusion that one can be too thin.  But very few people have seemed to conclude that one can be too rich or that wealth is only important for what it can accomplish in the world.  Do wealth and scruples know each other?   (To be fair - I have read about a couple of small efforts of heirs of wealth actively working to give their wealth away.  Place emphasis on the word small!)

The economy has tanked,  the major financial institutions that under gird the US economy are cascading like a house of cards, and trust in our government is at an all-time low.  (My most cynical self notes that we just might be our first Black president because things are so effed up.  Yeah, I said it and I'll say it again.)

To paraphrase the Donna Summer song:

“We work hard for the money
So hard for it honey
We work hard for the money
So you better treat us right.”

(Threats are for amateurs.) I don’t know who to exhort/expect to treat us right because both the Republicans and the Democrats have contributed to this debacle, run as they are by wealthy people who are more like each other than they are those of us who are regular working folks.

Oh, well.  I vented.  I feel better.  Not really but…

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