for soprano, bass, mandola, viola, cello, and piano
Text by Cynthia Fogg
premiered October 11, 2020
Bridges Hall, Claremont, California
The text for “Second Term Plans” is taken directly from a recent Hannity/Trump “interview.” “The Ballad of Doonbeg” is the true story Trump’s golf club in Ireland whose endangerment by climate change prompted Trump to sue County Clare. “Greta Speaks” pits Trump’s lazy vitriol against 16 year old Greta Thunberg’s insightful and passionate outcry. ”November Premembrance” is speculative time-scrambling travel to post-election November, with encouragement to have voted. Dear Lieder is gratefully dedicated to the memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I. Second Term Plans
Donald Trump: Well, one of the things that will be really great… You know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington.
I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, “This is great.”
But I didn’t know many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan from New York. Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes. An idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to drop bombs on everybody.
II. The Ballad of Doonbeg
Well, in Twenty-Fourteen, Donny found him some land
This place was just about under water
Eight miles of coast all eroded.
Not just one wall – he wanted two!
So Donnie, he sued to determine who’d
Trump’s lawyers said “The sea water is clearly rising. Mr. Trump’s property stands to be forever damaged without the wall.”
This is the guy who yanked us out
The Irish government said flat no,
The County of Clare said “Soak your head.”
Walls are ugly, and walls aren’t green!
“If you can’t take the storms, than move those holes.”
“No one’s going to mess with my bankrolls,
So this transpired in Two Thousand Sixteen
So the next time Donny starts to talk like this:
Next time he calls it Total Fiction, Fake News, a Chinese hoax!
- Cynthia Fogg
III. Greta Speaks
Greta: You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones.
Trump: She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!
Greta: People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.
Trump: With 2.5 MILLION jobs added in May, we're on the way to an incredible period of growth!
Greta: We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Trump: Don’t let the dollar sucking wise guys fool you. The climate changes, but it’s back and forth, back and forth. If something’s changing, it will change back.
Greta: You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children.
Trump: I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.
Greta: I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear.
Trump: Right now we're the cleanest we've ever been. China and India and Russia do absolutely nothing.
IV. November Premembrance
Can you give us a hint, can you give us a clue?
The present is here, but the future is there.
If “it is what it is,” as a great statesman once said,
Will those who keep mum have stopped covering their butts?
And what of covid, our virulent friend,
Sink back, with soft breezes, perhaps that soothe,
Will reluctant Republicans somehow have dared
If it hasn’t, then, what will have been our defense???
Have spoken out! Have risen up!!!
And in November, premember:
If you will have wanted to have been someone who might have stepped up and have answered the call,
If we were not to have been going to be sure to have been certain to have been driven to be inspired to be unflaggingly unflinchingly unswervingly determined to have been
Some beautiful day, when the inscrutable future will have become the past,