Pity The Nation-First They Came-I Don’t Fight For Conquerors

Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
whose shepherds mislead them off the deep end of history
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
whose bigots haunt the airwaves urging more violence

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
except to praise conquerors
and bullies and say there’s no choice
and aims to rule the world by force and torture.
Pity the nation that knows no language but its own
no culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
their freedoms washed away
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty

First they came for the Communists, and I said nothing
Because I could never be a part of that party
Then they came for the unions, but I said not a thing
Cause I wasn’t in a union and what charges could they bring?
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up
Because I was not a Jew, and besides, what could one man do?

And then they came for me, I said no! This cannot be
Well I spoke up, but no one was left to speak for me
Well I spoke up but no one was left to speak for me

I didn’t fight for the Romans I fought for the Christians and Greece
But when Christians turned into Crusaders
I prayed for their tribes to decrease

And I didn’t fight for the Spanish,
French, Portuguese or Dutch
When their ships sailed into the Indies
I said look but do not touch

And I didn’t fight for the English
When the colonies had to go
But I have to say, the very next day
I was fightin for Geronimo

And I don’t like to kill
Never have and never will
But I will fight for freedom
Though the battle be uphill
And I don’t fight for conquerors
Even if they’re presidents
They try to buy me with dollars
They must think I’ve got no sense
And I don’t keep my silence
When my country bombs a town
Cause I don’t fight for conquerors
I fight to bring them down

I didn’t fight for the Ottomans
Or the empire of the czar
When they asked me to kill in their colonies
I said who do you think you are?

And I didn’t fight for the Nazis
No, I fought for the Jews
And when Israel asked me to conquer
You know I had to refuse

I didn’t crown the Shah of Iran
Greek colonels or a butcher in Zaire
Didn’t bank on Franco or apartheid
Or any who ruled by fear

I didn’t overthrow Chile
Slaughter peasants in El Salvador
And when they went in with shock and awe
I knew exactly what it was for

I didn’t send men to be tortured
Leave their families living in dread
I didn’t build prisons all over the world
And pretend it was freedom I spread

Yes they say they’re spreading democracy
With their soldiers and CIA
Is that why they propped up Mr. Marcos,
Suharto, Duvalier

Vietnam and Iraq, I protested
While all of my Presidents lied
When Presidents stoop to conquer
I’m on the other side

Songs from Shrub & Lippman Live in Manhattan (Kansas):