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The New Police State: An Argument for Rewriting the Words to 'Universal Soldier'

06/25/2013 09:39 am 09:39:48 | Updated Aug 22, 2013

I am certain most have heard - or heard of - this famous anti-war song of the '60s which was written and released first by Buffy Sainte-Marie and then recorded by Donovan. With respect and in accord with Buffy's original intention to draw attention to "our individual responsibility for war of any kind," I suggest replacing "soldier" with "policeman."

After the abuse we have put our soldiers to, it's difficult to hold accountable those now crippled and wounded; they have become the final victim of the real dangers to democracy - governments and interests which have no problem sending their young into the wrong countries at the wrong time to fight the wrong war.

Fighting for peace, we are to understand.

Today, governments have awakened to the fact that foreign wars are now a distraction - there are bigger problems at home. Massive protests and rallies against oppression and the hobbling of civil liberties are skipping like stones across water from country to country.

War is the go-to solution when systems and governments are threatened.

Have no doubt, we are at war. The one that we are engaged in at present and likely for some time to come is that of the state against its own people. It is a war between accepted dogma, embedded special interests, state-approved propaganda and the truth.

It is a war against the very act of free thought, free speech, and free assembly by the same people we believed that we elected to protect those rights. And, the soldiers employed - our police forces.

Protecting us...from us. Exactly who is being protected, and what?

In that vein, I dedicate these updated lyrics of a wonderful and powerful song to its author and to the everyman (and woman) she tried to reach before. Perhaps we can reach them now.

"Universal Policeman"

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four
He fights with clubs and toxic spray
He's all of fifty-five, and he's only 21,
He's just a cop who's earning his pay.

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows if required - he will,
To prevent your thoughts from misleading me and you.

And he's policing for Canada,
He's policing for France,
He's policing right here in the USA,
And he's policing for the Turks,
And he's policing for Brazil,
He's told we'll put an end to speech this way.

And he's policing for democracy,
He's policing for the sacred scrolls,
He's told it's for the peace of all,
For the government must dictate
Whose thoughts are to be heard,
And he never reads the graffiti on the wall.

But without him,
How would Zuccotti Park have been emptied,
Without him the AKP would have stood alone,
He's the one who rents his body
As a weapon of oppression,
And without him all these beatings can't go on.

He's the Universal Policeman and he really is to blame,
His orders don't come from far away anymore,
They come from government and tyrants,
So brothers can't you see,
The police, unleashed, will take our liberty.

Original lyrics can be found here.