Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

"Leonard Cohen’s music is subtle, nuanced and always in search of the deepest truth—even if it’s a truth we don’t want to see. Trump and the GOP are precisely not Leonard Cohen." (Photo: Adrian Thomson/Flickr/cc)

Keep Your Filthy Hands Off of Leonard Cohen

"Trump and his posse of sycophants and enablers think that everything belongs to them."

Tim Koechlin

After Trump’s (predictably) revolting speech on Thursday night, the RNC DJ played Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Twice. Without permission (of course).

This is far from the worst thing that these cynical, mendacious fuckers have done. But it’s enraging nonetheless.

Leonard Cohen died on November 7, 2016, the day before election day. I spent much of the next month listening to Mr. Cohen’s music which has, over the years, meant a lot to me.

Leonard Cohen’s death was, for me and, I suspect, many others, a terrible echo of Trump’s election. A second way that the world had taken a turn for the worse. Leonard Cohen’s music is full of despair and possibility, and a hint of (perhaps irrational) hope. It was perfect for that awful moment. Leonard Cohen’s music is subtle, nuanced and always in search of the deepest truth – even if it’s a truth we don’t want to see.

Trump and the GOP are precisely not Leonard Cohen.

Four years ago, I wrote: “Leonard Cohen was cryptic and poetic. Dark and uplifting at once. For an inflexible, self-righteous, left-wing Catholic white boy (me!), his fearless writing about spirituality, mortality, sex, obsession, and darkness was perfectly challenging, unsettling, and transformative. It changed my life. For a few years, in my 20s, I was completely mesmerized by his great album, ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen.’"

Again, this is so far from the most revolting thing Trump and his lying band of misogynist racists have done. But my feeling is this: Did you have to put your filthy hands on this too?

Trump and his posse of sycophants and enablers think that everything belongs to them.

It’s clear that no one bothered to read or listen to the lyrics to “Hallelujah” – the centrality of the “baffled king,” e.g. None of them take the time to read anything.

“Well, maybe there's a God above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya.

And it's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.”

Broken as fuck.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Tim Koechlin

Tim Koechlin

Tim Koechlin holds a PhD in economics. He is the Director of the International Studies Program at Vassar College, where he has an appointment in International Studies and Urban Studies. Professor Koechlin has taught and written about a variety of subjects including economic, political and racial inequality; globalization; macroeconomic policy, and urban political economy.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·


Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·


Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·


WHO to Convene Emergency Meeting on Monkeypox Outbreak

Leading public health experts plan to discuss the ongoing outbreak as the number of confirmed cases in the U.K. more than doubled on Friday to 20.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo