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This is a song by Wyclef Jean, although it hasn't appeared on any of his albums (yet).

I went to see Wyclef in concert on February 19, 2004. After an hour-long technical delay, he finally came out on stage with his band and lit up the house.

True to form, Wyclef put plenty of political content in his songs. There was quite a bit of anti-Bush rhetoric in several of his songs: he sang one reggae song that went "Pres-i-dent Buuuuush... he need-a smoke-a marijuana! / Sad-dam Huseiiiiin... he need-a smoke-a marijuana!" and another rap hook that culminated with the words "I guess what I'm tryin' to say is / Fuck George Bush!"

Although the concert was coming in the middle of a presidential election year, it was also coming in the middle of the popular uprising in Haiti against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and so the lyrics of "If I Was President" took on an especially poignant meaning for many in the crowd (Florida is, after all, the most Haitian state in the US by far).

Wyclef introduced his song by saying, "This is a song I just wrote on my way here... y'all are going to be the first to hear it."

If I was president
I'd be elected on Friday
Assassinated on Saturday
Buried on Sunday
Then go back to work on Monday
If I was president
If I was president...

If I was president
I wouldn't spend no billions on the war
I'd take all that money
And spend it on the poor
...repeating several times. Between verse and chorus, he would bust out his Stratocaster (he's a mad-skilled guitarist, in case you didn't know) and play a crying, Santana-like lead, which got the entire crowd moving and waving their cellular phones in the air.

We can all think of stuff we would do if we were president. Kid Rock played a song with the same name on MTV, featuring ZZ Top and promising guns and sex. Wyclef's song, though, was much simpler and much, much more emotional. I only hope it gets published on CD, so that my kids can hear it and learn how so many people around the world were feeling, way way back in 2004.

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