Paxton, Tom
We Didn't Know

We Didn't Know
(Tom Paxton)

"We didn't know", said the burgomeister ,"about the camp on the edge of town"
"It was Hitler and his crew that tore the German nation down."
"We saw the cattle cars, its true; maybe they carried a Jew or two"
"They woke us up as they rattled through, but what did you expect me to do?"

Chorus: We didn't know at all, we didn't see a thing.
You can't hold us to blame, what could we do?
It was a terrible shame, but we can't bear the blame.
Oh, No, not us! We didn't know.

"We didn't know", said the congregation, signing a hymn in their church of Whites
"Press was full of lies about us, preacher told us we were right."
"The outside agitators came, they burned some churches and put the blame
"On decent southern people's names to set our Colored people aflame"
"And maybe some of our boys got hot and a couple of Nigras and Reds got shot"
"They should have stayed where they belonged!"
"The preacher would have told us if we'd done wrong."

"We didn't know", said the puzzled voter, watching the President on TV.
"I guess we've got to drop those bombs if we're going to keep South Asia free."
"The President's such a peaceful man, I guess he's got some kind of plan."
"They say we're torturing prisoners of war, but I don't believe that stuff no more"
"Torturing prisoners is a Communist game, and you can bet they're doing the same!"
"I wish this war was over and through, but what do you expect me to do?

(c) Tom Paxton/Deep Fork
Recorded on "Ain't That News", Elektra EKS-7298

Aug. 25, 2007 verse by Leonard J. Lehrman:
"We didn't know," said the Congresspeople, "about the Administration's crimes."
"They say they've got to spy on us, because we're livin' in dangerous times."
"They call the Geneva Convention quaint. Well, who among us is a saint?"
"Don't like Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, but where else should those prisoners go?"
"We took Iraq and Afghanistan, and now perhaps it's time for Iran."
"I only know what I hear and see: They've kept the war dead off TV--"
"Abolished habeas corpus too--But what do you expect me to do?"

Chorus: Impeach the President? And then the Vice?
Or p'rhaps the other way? That would be nice!
It's such a terrible shame - But who's to bear the blame?
We just can't say We didn't know!

premiered at PeaceSmiths, Nov. 2, 2007 n memory of Susan Blake