I am as depressed today as I was
after the Take Back America conference
in DC in 2004 when a national group
of paper trail activists couldn't get MoveOn
or the Democratic Party to take voter fraud
seriously. They were afraid it would
discourage new voters if we said electronic
voting could be rigged.
So they nodded to us,
but diluted the message,
skirting the issue "for the greater good"
and the vote was, you guessed, it --
rigged, bringing us
the colonialization of Iraq,
(that's working out well)
a right wing Supreme Court
bent on overturning labor laws,
and Roe v. Wade.
a 25-year-old environmental group
came as close to blowing apart
as I've seen it do
over whether or not to endorse
a radical clean water initiative
to stop development
on our aquifer.
We need a dose of forgiveness --
here at home, in the circles
where we live and work.
We need a sense of fair play.
Last week there was a vote
that was the culmination of months
of debate. It was 8 against,
11 in favor of endorsing it.
But no sooner had we voted
than some of the nay sayers set out to
spin the vote --
drafting language for a press release
saying that while we voted to endorse,
what we really meant is that we only agreed
with the first two paragraphs of the
three page document.
So goes Democracy
in America, home spun,
because people won't stand up
to corporate interests
and no sense of fair play.
But it's more than that --
maybe we, the old guard,
can't stand it that we've failed
in almost every activist goal we've undertaken --
peace, environmental protection, justice --
maybe we're too proud to think someone else
might be able to do what we couldn't,
are horrified by the radicals
we once were ourselves.
We fold into the governing bodies
we fought our way into--
and become part of the problem,
a huge part because we're cloaked
with positive intent, the respect
of the community.
Mockingbirds are building a nest outside
Can they imitate enough patterns to compensate
for the 9000 living species
that go extinct every year.
these new ideas are nuts, can't work.
That's America lately --
arrogant, hard working,
home spun, and wrong.
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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