I hate to sound cynical, but it seems to me that protest songs are like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. It’s hard to believe that a song like that is gonna make any difference in the course we’re on. I don’t want to contribute to the rhetoric, or even assume I have the ability to speak about these things on an intelligent level. I know my own limitations
I read an article in the New York Times…it haunted me, and that’s why I write many of my songs, because something’s haunting me and I need to get it outta my head. What else could I do? Nobody in Washington is calling me up to discuss our foreign policy.
Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.384, 414)
(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).