H20-GATE BLUES (WATERGATE BLUES)
by Gil Scott-Heron
(transcribed from the performance by Tara Carreon, american-buddha.com . This poem was originally performed in 1973.)
This here, this is going to be a blues number, but first I want to do a little bit of background on the blues, say what it is. Like there are six kind of colors, and colors have always come to signify more than simply that particular shade, like redneck, or got the blues. That's where you apply colors to something else, you know, to come up with what it is you're trying to say.
So there are six kind of colors: yellow, red, orange, green, blue and purple. And there are 3,000 shades. And if you take these 3,000 shades and divide them by 6, you'll come up with 500, meaning there are at least 500 shades of the blues.
For example, there is the "I ain't got me no money" blues. There is the "I ain't got me no woman" blues. There is the "I ain't got me no money and I ain't got me no woman," which is the double blues.
And for years it was thought that black people was the only ones who could get the blues, so the blues hadn't come into no international type of fame. But lately we done had Frank Rizzo with the lie-detector blues. We done had the United States government talking about the energy crisis blues.
And we going to dedicate this next poem here to Spearhead X, the X Second in Command in terms of this country, and the poem is called H-2-0-G-A-T-E blues, and if H-2-O is still water and G-A-T-E is still gate, what we're getting ready to deal on is the Watergate Blues.
Let me see if I can dial this number right here. Click. Whirrrrrrrrr. Click! "I'm sorry, the government you have elected is inoperative." Click! Inoperative.
Just how blind will America be? The world is on the edge of its seat, defeat on the horizon, very surprising that we all could see the plot and still could not -- let me do that part again.
Just how blind will America be? The world is on the edge of its seat, defeat on the horizon, very surprising that we all could see the plot and claim that we could not.
Just how blind, America? Just as Vietnam exploded in the rice snap, crackle and pop could not stop people determined to be free. Just how blind will America be?
The shock of a Vietnam defeat sent Republican donkeys scurrying down on Wall Street, and when the roll was called it was Pepsi Cola and Phillips 66, Boeing, Dow and Lockheed. Ask them what they're fighting for, and they'll never mention the economics of war. Ecological warfare above all else destroyed the land, if we can't break the Asian will we'll bomb the dikes and starve the man. America, the international Jekyll and Hyde, the land of a thousand disguises, sneaks up on you but rarely surprises, plundering the Asian countryside in the name of Fu Manchu, afraid of shoeless, undernourished Cambodians, while we strike big wheat bargains with Russia, our nuclear enemy. Just how blind, America? But tell me, who was around when Hale Boggs died, and what was the cause of LBJ's untimely demise, and what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover, the king is proud of Patrick Gray, while America's faith is drowning beneath that cesspool -- Watergate.
How long will the citizens sit and wait, it's looking like Europe in '38. Did they move to stop Hitler before it was too late? How long, America, before the consequences of keeping the school system segregated, allowing the press to be intimidated, watching the price of everything soar, and hearing complaints 'cause the rich want more. It seems that Macbeth, and not his lady, went mad. We let him eliminate the whole middle class. The dollar's the only thing we can't inflate, while the poor go on without a new minimum wage. But what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover, the king is proud of Patrick Gray, and there are those who say America's faith is drowning beneath that cesspool, Watergate.
How much more evidence do the citizens need that their election was sabotaged by trickery and greed, and if this is so, and who we got didn't win, let's do the whole goddamned election over again. The obvious key to the whole charade would be to run down all of the games they played. Remember Dita Beard and ITT, the slaughter of Attica, the CIA in Chile, knowing nothing about Allende at this time in the past as I recollect, Augusta Georgia, the nomination of Supreme Court Jesters to head off the tapes, William Calley's executive interference in the image of John Wayne. Kent State, Jackson State, Southern Louisiana, hundreds of authorized bombing raids, the chaining and gagging of Bobby Seale, somebody tell these Maryland governors to be for real.
We recall all of these events just to prove that Waterbuggers in the Watergate whadn't no news. The thing that seems to justify all of our fears is that all this went down in the last five years. But tell me, what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover, the king is proud of Patrick Gray while America's faith is drowning beneath that cesspool, Watergate.
We leave America to ponder the image of justice from its new wave of leaders. Frank Rizzo, the high school graduate mayor of Philadelphia whose ignorance is surpassed only by those who voted for him. Richard Daley, Imperial Napoleonic Mayor of Chicago, who took over from Al Capone and continues to implement the same tactics. George Wallace, Lester Maddawg, Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan, an almost endless list that won't be missed when at last, America is purged.
And the silent Whitehouse, with the James Brothers once in command. But see the sauerkraut mafia men deserting the sinking White House ship and their mean, mindless, megalomaniac Ahab. McCord has blown, Mitchell has blown, no tap on my telephone. McCord has blown, Mitchell has blown, no tap on my telephone. Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean, it follows a pattern if you dig what I mean. Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean, it follows a pattern if you dig what I mean. And what are we left with now? Bumperstickers that say "Free the Watergate 500." Spy movies of the same name with a cast of thousands. And that ominous phrase that "If Nixon knew, Agnew," but Agnew knew enough to stay out of jail. And what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover, the king is proud of Patrick Gray, and there are those who swear they've seen King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, King Richard, beneath that cesspool, Watergate.
Four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years of that?