Gimme Some Truth – John Lennon

Vote for me. Vote for drama. Vote for anger. Vote for fads. Vote for bigotry. Vote for loud-mouthing. Vote for scandal. Vote for headlines. Vote for scape-goating. Vote for bandwagons. Vote for roasts. Vote for discrimination. Vote for red-faced, mindless, finger-pointing. Vote for me. Vote for me. Vote for me.

This is what modern politics have come to. A big circus freak show in which candidates attack each other and haggle over who’ll get to be ringleader. The goal is to win the prize for most shock value, because any press is good press. Too many politicians are willing to say almost anything, no matter how offensive, irrelevant, or ridiculous, just to get a headline.

Look at me.

No, look at ME.

Politicians acknowledge problems and the masses hoist their banners and shake their fists in agreement. Yes! This is a problem! I’ll support you! But who’s proposing solutions? Presidential candidates gain massive followings by riding the wave of anger that they’ve incited. They take advantage of people’s whirlwind emotions, especially hate, in order to overshadow each other and gain the most support. Everyone’s talking so much, and what do we get when the election’s over?

Nothing.

John Lennon Grafitti

©2010 by Ingmar Zahorsky [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Background:

John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth”, off of his legendary album Imagine, is an anthem for problem-solving in a world where there are too many problems and not enough people willing to do anything about them. Lennon declares that it is time to bring an end to deceptive politics and instead make the government’s primary concern the truth. Even though the song was released in 1971, John Lennon’s words (as usual) are just as relevant today as they were when he first scribbled them down.

The Song:

“I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth”

It seems that the only concern that presidential candidates have in mind is popularity. They’ll say or do anything to get people’s attention — flip-flop their policies, attack other candidates, make ridiculous, irrelevant statements, or even ignore domestic and international issues altogether — because they believe that as long as they have the public’s attention, they are guaranteed a win. But why is winning the only goal of a political campaign? When did politics become an adolescent popularity contest? Governments were formed with the intention of addressing the problems of the people and attempting to solve them. Instead, most politicians try incite passionate emotions and rally a crowd of emotionally-fueled, angry, screaming supporters, but few will engage in an intellectual debate and try to actually get people to think about their government, their country, and their world. It’s all just “short-sighted, narrow-minded” talk talk talk, and never thoughtful, sincere problem-solving.

“No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope”

Even if some “son of tricky dicky” politician says that they have a plan and a solution, it doesn’t mean that they’ll actually do anything. Since the object of the game of campaigning is winning, they’ll “mother hubbard soft soap” us with flattery and empty promises. Once they seize power, it’s most likely that there will be no real change, if not because of the unwillingness of individual politicians to act, then by the fine print of a slow political system.

politics

©2007 by Bearman2007 [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Money for dope
Money for rope”

Society is suffering from addiction. We’ve become so obsessed with drama that now we even want politics to entertain us. Watching a debate is like watching a soap opera — all we do is wait for the next shocker so that we can all gasp and be appalled. But somehow, the most shocking revelation is still this: when you elect an incompetent president for irrelevant, superficial reasons, he or she is not going to solve your problems. It’s because of this that the political system is like “dope”. We continue to support people with nothing but a short-term, superficial appeal — whether it be empty promises, some sort of gimmick, or even how attractive they are — like a temporary high. Then, our long term-health is compensated and the entire nation suffers cancerous effects. Taking these political drugs is essentially national suicide, making “money for dope” comparable with “money for rope” to tie a noose around your country’s neck.

“I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mamas little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth”

This asphyxiating phenomenon isn’t anything new. Political leaders from Julius Caesar and Marc Antony to Hitler, Stalin, and other twentieth century demagogues to even certain American politicians today have employed a combination of stage antics and manipulation to hoodwink the public and gain power. And now, even the media plays a role by blowing the most insignificant aspects of a debate or a politician’s statements or social life completely out of proportion, shifting focus away from actual policies. No one is brave enough to step forward and give us the truth because they will be overlooked by the media if they don’t make a scene and give the yellow journalists something to talk about. Politics has become show-biz and politicians, the stars of the show, are all divas, or “ego-centric, prima-donnas” who are “paranoiac” because they’re afraid of getting a bad rating from the theater critics, the press. Politicians prance across the world’s stage while we, the audience, can do nothing but laugh along and take their two-faced policies and lies.

“All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth”

We don’t need anymore lies and deception. We don’t need anymore drama. And we definitely don’t need anymore problems, we have more than enough of those. We need more people who are willing to work together and formulate solutions. It doesn’t matter where they come from, what their background is like, or how magnetic their personality is — if someone has a plan for how they can make the world a better place and is willing to take action, who cares? We need people who are compassionate and who actually care; people with souls. We need people who can see the truth and who aren’t afraid to stare it in the face and take it straight on. And we need these people not just in politics, but in the media, in science, in business, in art, and in all aspects of life. If only the world valued compassion over winning and power and superficial veneers, the possibilities to make it a better place would be endless. We all know what’s right. We all know the truth. But it’s whether or not we act upon it that determines the state of our communities, our countries, and our world.

Bed-In_for_Peace,_Amsterdam_1969_-_John_Lennon_&_Yoko_Ono_17

©1969 by Dutch National Archives [CC BY-SA 3.0 NL]

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4 thoughts on “Gimme Some Truth – John Lennon

  1. Brilliant piece- written with passion. If only the world could be a more compassionate place. As ever, Lennon’s words have still have relevance. Shame more people didn’t listen to him when he was alive xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘Gimme Some Truth’ has always been one of my favourite Lennon songs, as its depiction of politics is both so accurate and resonant – even now. As you say, politics has become so overrun by drama, scandal and popularity bids that sometimes it seems like very few people care about changing the world for the better. However, I think it’s brilliant that it seems like more people are becoming politically aware, and that in so many countries, we are able to speak out, express our discontent and even make changes of our own! John would be proud…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I think people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the what the political system has become, so hopefully as more and more people start acting, someone will realize that something needs to change. Maybe in the near future, as more people start making changes on their own as you said, people will be able to work with the political system rather than having to fight it to make positive progress. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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