I’m just going to say it: Hands down, the best song on that album. Easily one of the best Clash songs of all, in fact.
Damn, damn, damn:
With guitar …
Know your rights, all three of them
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done
By a policeman or an aristocrat
Know your rights!
And Number 2
You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don’t mind a little
And if you cross your fingers
Know your rights
These are your rights …
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it
Know your rights
These are your rights
All three of ’em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough
Get off the streets!
Get off the streets …
All I’m going to say is, there’s an election on, and if you don’t believe one of the candidates has more respect for your rights than the other, you just haven’t been paying attention. Now, I know there are liberals who are disappointed with Pres. Obama, particularly when it comes to civil liberties. You know what? To a large extent, I feel your pain. But Pres. Obama has done a hell of a lot for the cause of civil liberties – particularly for our gay and lesbian friends and neighbors – and he’ll do whatever he can to stem the GOP’s onslaught against women’s rights, too.
Those are real, tangible results.
So, if you’re hesitant to vote for Pres. Obama because you think he’s been weak on civil liberties, consider this. You can’t trade the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans, women, recent immigrants, and people of color, for civil liberties. You can’t because it’s not right; we should never be forced to chose between civil rights and civil liberties. And you can’t because that choice isn’t on the table. The choice isn’t between civil liberties and civil rights; it’s between civil rights and neither.
When it comes to civil liberties, Mitt Romney simply won’t curtail the abuses of the current or past administrations. He just won’t. But he will curtail the civil rights advances of this administration.
Yes, he will. And you know it.
Meanwhile, if you really want to advance the cause of civil liberties, you don’t do that by electing a president who’ll make nice for four or eight years because he or she chooses to make nice, only to have the next Republican (or Democrat) come along and simply reverse course. Nope. That may be a temporary solution, but I want permanent protections for my civil liberties.
So if you really want to protect civil liberties you go to court. You sue to stop the government from trammeling people’s rights, and you get court rulings – hopefully, ultimately, from the Supreme Court – that prohibit the government from doing whatever odious thing it is you object to … now and in the future. Because that’s as close as we get to permanent protections for civil liberties: Getting a court – preferably the Supreme Court – to tell the government, The Constitution says you can’t do that.
Oh, yeah. And who picks judges in the federal system, all the way up to the Supreme Court? Yeah, that’s right.
Know your rights, people.
Damn, damn, damn.
Now: Turn. It. Up.