The Ballad of John Kennedy O'Hara
By Papa Dish

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John Kennedy O’Hara entered politics
He knew it would be rough, he would have to take his licks
Nobody knows what the future’s gonna be
But what happened to O’Hara was a travesty
What happened to O’Hara was a travesty  

When McGovern ran for president, john was just a boy
When McGovern lost to Nixon, O’Hara felt destroyed
When Nixon fell to Watergate, it proved we could survive
That was the moment that O’Hara came alive
That was the moment that O’Hara came alive    

It didn’t take too long for O’Hara to grow up
And see that here in Brooklyn politicians were corrupt
He found a band of people who wouldn’t take it anymore
“Citizens can govern” was painted on their door
“Citizens can govern” was painted on their door  

Some ran for office, Joe Ferris was my friend
They tried to force him off the ballot, but Joe Ferris wouldn’t bend
They challenged his petitions and anyone who signed
But Joe Ferris won because he had a spine
Joe Ferris won because he had a spine  

Joe Ferris took his seat and shook up the machine
He was not like anyone they had ever seen
They decided to redistrict when he went to Albany
And in front of his house they drew the boundary
In front of his house they drew the boundary    

When Joe ran again he had to move across the street
He rented an apartment just to keep his seat
Those are the things that machines are gonna do
To keep off the ballot anybody new
To keep off the ballot anybody new    

When Joe Ferris moved onto bigger things
Jim Brennan tossed his hat into the ring
He was a reformer, at least we all believed
But it’s been twenty years, so we might have been deceived
It’s been twenty years, so we might have been deceived  

O’Hara saw it early and he became resolved
To reform the reformers, he would have to get involved
“Citizens can govern”, that was quite a dream
But what they did to O’Hara was far worse than the machine
What they did to O’Hara was far worse than the machine  

They called him a psychopath, spread rumors all around
They harassed his mother, pushed his girlfriend to the ground
They challenged his petitions and anyone who signed
But O’Hara kept on coming because he had a spine
O’Hara kept on coming because he had a spine  

O’Hara kept on running, year after year
He kept getting on the ballot, O’Hara had no fear
They redrew the district, to make him go away
But his girlfriend’s house was still inside, so it was there he chose to stay
His girlfriend’s house was still inside, so it was there he chose to stay  

Hynes is the DA, some people call him Joe
Some people call him Charles, no one seems to know
Joe or Charles, I guess it’s all the same
But can you trust a DA when no one knows his name?
Can you trust a DA when no one knows his name?  

He brought an indictment that defied common sense
Illegal voting from his girlfriend’s residence
The first one convicted since 1873
And the only other one, Susan B. Anthony
The only other one, Susan B. Anthony  

It took several trials, and after ten appeals
Hynes finally nailed him, O’Hara took no deals
No one can tell me there weren’t better things to do
In the Brooklyn DA’s office, we need somebody new
In the Brooklyn DA’s office, we need somebody new.   

The judge disbarred O’Hara, and crippled him with a fine
Made him clean up Brooklyn’s garbage instead of doing time
Isn’t that the ultimate irony?
Trying to clean up Brooklyn was how his troubles came to be
Trying to clean up Brooklyn was how his troubles came to be  

A reporter looked into Hynes, and this is what he wrote:
He was registered at his office, that’s not where he cast his vote
He claims he was in transition, what exactly does that mean?
We’ll probably never know, he’s suing Harper’s magazine
We’ll probably never know, he’s suing Harper’s magazine  

John Kennedy O’Hara entered politics
He knew it would be rough, he would have to take his licks
Nobody knows what the future’s gonna be
But what happened to O’Hara was a travesty
What happened to O’Hara was a travesty

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