Songwriter expresses anger over eminent domain issue

The Roady Less Traveled

The Ottumwa Courier/July 29, 2007
By Jeff Hutton

He and his wife were reading some news accounts when they saw the story about the Maharishi Vedic City eminent domain controversy.

"My wife and I were absolutely appalled," Arnold told the Courier. "We've seen other similar stories about eminent domain; the idea of this family's farm having been here for so long and being threatened by [Vedic City] kept me up at night."

Arnold did some more research on the issue and said he "kept stewing" about.

But instead of writing a letter to the editor or venting his frustration at folks he did not know, Arnold wrote a song.

Arnold penned "The Maharishi Vedic City Blues" and the song is part of his band's most recent album.

"I just wrote the lyrics at my home studio and started messing around with it," he said.

The song, he said, is representative of of a "textbook example of how these types of powers can be abused ..."

Part of the song goes like this:

"A hundred years before the Maharishis came to town/One family's farm began to feed its neighbors from the ground/They're trying to run the family off/... and we'll pay you for your pain/but if you don't sell, we'll steal it/ It's called eminent domain."

The song could be interpreted as a protest song, and in some ways, it has that feel.

Arnold could hardly be called a troublemaker or anti-establishment. He's a former law enforcement official whose music is a sideline to his ownership of a book shop in small-town Georgia.

And while the song is featured on his band's newest CD, Arnold said he's not trying to make money. In fact, the cost of the CD barely covers production expenses.

He said the song is simply an expression of his frustration at one local Iowa municipality and support for a Century Farm in Iowa.

"There's too much history, too much at stake/The farmer needs a living, the farmer needs a break/There's no consideration, no common sense/Just too much fiber, too much incense."

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