Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

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Farewell to ‘Darling Corey’ Lewandowski

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File

Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Palm Beach, Florida, as campaign manager Corey Lewandowski listens at left. 

 

Donald Trump just said, “you're fired” to his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

This was predictable. In fact, it was predicted years ago in a traditional bluegrass folk song called “Darling Corey.”

The Corey in the song is a woman, but otherwise it fits the tragedy of Corey Lewandowski to a tee. Her fate was sealed when she got involved with what the song describes as a “gamblin' man,” clearly a reference to Trump's casino empire. The song is also prescient about Trump's tax problems (“the revenue officers are coming”). Corey's partner was a con man engaged in selling moonshine liquor made in a local “still house.” Is this not an obvious reference to Trump's effort to enter the booze business through Trump Vodka, which the Donald marketed under the slogan “Success Distilled,” but which quickly failed?

The “meadow” and the “graveyard” in the song no doubt refer to Trump's burial site. Some folks recently erected a tombstone to the presumptive GOP presidential candidate in the Sheep's Meadow section of Central Park. Since Trump just killed Lewandowski's job, perhaps he'll be generous enough to bequeath his “lonesome graveyard ground” to his former campaign manager.

Questions about the size of Trump's wealth are clearly anticipated in the first verse, which is found in the earliest published version of the song, “The Gambling Man,” collected from oral tradition by folklorist Cecil Sharp, as sung by Mrs. Clercy Deeton, at Mine Fork, Burnsville, North Carolina, on September 19, 1918. Versions of “Darling Corey” were recorded by The Weavers, Buell Kazee, Doc Watson, the Monroe Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, Jean Ritchie, the Kingston Trio, and Pete Seeger, among others.

 

My pocketbook full of money,
My friends are all standing around.
My pocketbook are empty
And I ain't got a friend to be found

 

Wake up wake up darling Corey
What makes you sleep so sound?
The revenue officers are coming
They're gonna tear your still house down

 

Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Dig a hole in the cold cold ground
Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Gonna lay darling Corey down

 

Can't you hear those bluebirds a singing
Don't you hear that mournful sound
They're preaching darling Corey's funeral
In some lonesome graveyard ground

 

Oh yes, oh yes, my darlin'
I'll do the best I can
But I'll never take my pleasure
With another gamblin' man

 

Throughout its many versions, the basic theme of the song has remained the same: Don't mess around with people involved in shady and illegal activities.

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