Draft Dodger Rag Phil Ochs- 1965

  • Phil Ochs was born in Texas in December, 1940
  • He grew up in a non-political family
  • He formed his political beliefs in college, and began to put these thoughts into songs
  • Dropped out of college and began performing in New York and eventually became more and more popular
  • Other songs: "Changes", There But For Fortune", " When I'm Gone", and " I Ain't Marching Anymore."

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"Oh, I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town.I believe in God and Senator Dodd and a-keepin' old Castro down. And when it came my time to serve I knew "better dead than red." But when I got to my old draft board, buddy, this is what I said. Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen. And I always carry a purse. I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse."

Analysis: These lyrics are protesting the drafting for the Vietnam War. Ochs acts as though he is an 18 year old man who is against communism and believes in " keepin' old Castro down," but has just been drafted into the army to fight against Vietnam. He doesn't want to fight because of all his medical problems and lack of skills, such as "a ruptured spleen" and flat feet. Ochs message is that the drafting is unfair due to the fact that some draftees are admitted without acknowledgement of their medical issues that could prevent them from fighting successfully.

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