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The Ghost of Tom Joad

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

One song that is played more than any other song here at Emerald Peak is Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad' and in particular the live version with Tom Morello at Anaheim.

To us, the song is so inspiring because of the issue it focuses on: poverty and the elusive path to a better life.

The character Tom Joad is from John Steinbeck's classic 1939 novel 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Besides Steinbeck's book, the song also takes inspiration from 'The Ballad of Tom Joad' by Woody Guthrie.

Here are the complete lyrics of the song:

[Verse 1]

Men walking along the railroad tracks Going someplace, there's no going back Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge Shelter line stretching around the corner Welcome to the new world order Families sleeping in the cars in the southwest No home, no job, no peace, no rest [Chorus] Well the highway is alive tonight But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad [Verse 2] He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag Preacher lights up a butt and he takes a drag Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last In a cardboard box beneath the underpass You got a one-way ticket to the promised land You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock Bathing in the city's aqueduct

[Chorus] Well the highway is alive tonight Where it's headed, everybody knows I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad [Verse 3] Now Tom said, "Mom, wherever there's a cop beating a guy Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air Look for me, Mom, I'll be there Wherever somebody's fighting for a place to stand Or a decent job or a helping hand Wherever somebody's struggling to be free Look in their eyes, Ma, and you'll see me" [Chorus] Well the highway is alive tonight But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light With the ghost of old Tom Joad

More information on this great song:

The song was written in the 1990's but is still (unfortunately) very much relevant these days.

In the US, there is a growing number of working people that travel from job to job just like in the song:

Also, a number of people from Central America have taken to the road in search of a better life:

Our aim is to contribute our share to the fight against poverty in Central America. We want to be part of the solution in helping the people in this region have access to better opportunities and a fair chance at a sustainable life.

No one takes small children to a trek of several thousand kilometers if they had any other choice. These people are acting out of profound desperation. They need the help of fellow humanists who do not want to see this misery continue on their watch. It is time to disrupt the status quo that has not addressed these issues with sufficient urgency.

Please join our effort to make a difference in Central America. Be part of the solution!

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