The Great White Hope
In 1990, Louisiana was in a political Purgatory, as former Klansman David Duke rode an economic recession into the Louisiana legislature and a runoff for Governor. He was beaten by former Governor Edwin Edwards, who would go on to spend nine years in Federal prison on a racketeering conviction. The campaign spawned one of the greatest political bumperstickers of all time: “Vote for the Crook.”
Times are hard in the bayou land
No one’s offering to lend a hand
People reaching the end of the rope
Put their faith in the Great White Hope
Put your faith in the Great White Hope
And buy a piece of his great white soap
He’s washed his sheets and he’s changed his names
But in his eyes you can still see flames
He is the monster from old Berlin,
Risen from the ashes to ride again,
And desperate people will welcome him in
As long as he promises to save their skin.
And he rides in wearing an angel’s face
Offering help in our hour of need
He is filling the empty space
Left by leaders who will not lead
And they won’t stand up to the Great White Hope
They’re afraid it will lose them votes
So they close their eyes, wring their hands and pray
He’ll ride off after election day
But he is an idea that’s found its time
People out of work and victims of crime
He’s given to their fear a race and a name
Telling them exactly who to blame
And they put their faith in the Great White Hope
They understand when he speaks in code
That crime means black and that work means white
They clap their hands and they say, “That’s right!”
Blacks and whites made a common stand,
And drove the beast from the bayou land
But don’t go thinking he’s really dead.
When the time is ripe, he will raise his head.
From the L.A. streets to the Balkan slopes,
Listen for the hoofbeats
Of the Great White Hope.
Words and music © 1990 by Steve Brooks and Frog Records
I remember playing the guitar solo on this one. It’s a fun song that I still play 30 years later!
Thanks, Roland. That was a great guitar solo, almost operatic! The song seems even more timely today.