67: Simple Man

67: Simple Man

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Simple Man

Story by Charlie Daniels

Song written by Charlie Daniels, John L. Gavin, Taz DiGregorio, and Charles Hayward

Recorded by Charlie Daniels

This song was born out of a lot of anger and frustration. I had just gotten disgusted with the level of violent crime in this country and our inaction to do anything serious about it. We just keep turning the same people loose in the streets until they finally go and murder somebody. We don’t need more laws. We just need to enforce the ones we have. But it’s like there’s a plea bargain for this, and a technicality for that and we just keep turning people loose to go out and keep committing crimes. Some drug dealer who smuggles a ton of cocaine into the country gets a million-dollar lawyer or a team of lawyers and comes up against some public prosecutor whose caseload looks like the Sears Roebuck catalog, and he wins.

We also need to clean up our prisons. People shouldn’t go into prison and be able to join gangs and things like that. That’s not what it’s for. It’s punishment. It just goes on and on and on. We seem to literally manufacture a criminal class. They learn how to be good criminals in our prisons and that shouldn’t be happening.

A big part of it is political will. Everybody is afraid now that somebody is going to point a finger at them and call them names. It takes guts and conviction to stand up and say, “This is wrong, and deep down in your heart, you know this is wrong.” You can hide behind political correctness.

I wrote a column about this a while back. I said you can call a rattlesnake a green snake if you want to. But it’s not going to change the fact that he is a rattlesnake and he will still bite you. Some problems in this country need more attention and more clarification than others do. They are not all the same. Can you imagine if 80% of the electorate would actually turn out for an election? It would scare Capitol Hill to death. All they do is aim their advertising at whatever group they know is going to the polls. But if everybody went, if people said, “We’ve got a law and order candidate here, and we’re going to vote for him. We don’t like you and we don’t like what’s happened under your tenure. So we’re going to kick you out of office,” then things might change.

Our political system was never designed for career politicians. It was designed for somebody to go and serve a term or maybe two terms and then go back home and go to work and let the druggist or the farmer or the plumber go up. Then we can get somebody fresh off the street who knows what’s going on now, not what was going on thirty years ago when they were elected. Then they wouldn’t get into these power groups and do all these back-door deals and sell out the people. That’s not what it was about. The system is inherently corrupt. They are power hungry; they’ve power drunk. So we need term limits. The President only serves four or eight years and it’s the most important office in the world. Why isn’t that good enough for everybody else? Serve eight years and then get the heck out of there and let someone go back there who knows what is going on in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee or Miami. The people up there literally do not know what’s going on. They are insulated. Let somebody who’s been dealing with these problems go up there and deal with it.

It’s not the FBI, and it’s not the police that are the problem; it’s the will of the politicians. They don’t have the will. All they want is power and whatever group they have to appeal to in order to get the power, they’ll appeal to them.

So that’s what I was thinking about when I wrote that song. People just need to go out and vote to change things. If people don’t vote, then they can’t complain about what’s happening.

Simple Man

I ain’t nothing but a simple man

Call me a redneck, I reckon that I am

But there’s things goin’ on that make me mad down to the core

I have to work like a dog to make ends meet

There’s crooked politicians and crime in the street

And I’m madder than hell and I ain’t gonna take it no more

We tell our kids to just say no

And then some panty waist judge lets a drug dealer go

And he slaps him on the wrist and he turns him back out on the town

Well, if I had my way with people sellin’ dope

I’d take a big tall tree and a short piece of rope

And hang ’em up high and let ’em swing till the sun goes down


Well you know what’s wrong with the world today

People done gone and put their Bibles away

They’re livin’ by law of the jungle not the law of the land

Well the good book says it, so I know it’s the truth

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

You’d better watch where you go

And remember where you’ve been

That’s the way I see it I’m a simple man

Now, I’m the kind of man that wouldn’t harm a mouse

But if I catch somebody breakin’ in my house

I’ve got a twelve gauge shotgun waitin’ on the other side

So don’t go pushin’ me against my will

I don’t want to have to fight you but I dang sure will

So if you don’t want trouble then you’d better just pass me on by

As far as I’m concerned there ain’t no excuse

For the raping and the killing and the child abuse

And I’ve got a way to put an end to all that mess

You just take those rascals out in the swamp

Put them on their knees and tie ’em to a stump

And let the rattlers and the bugs and the alligators do the rest


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