Waive That Flag

Waive That Flag

It occurs to me that there
are far better things to wave today
than The Flag
(as if it’s the only one).
Things more indicative of the
overall State Of Affairs
in America,
things more representational of our
Many Freedoms
via American Exceptionalism.

For example,
Supreme Court Majority Opinions
opining that Bits Of The Bible
and WASP Hobbyists
are better than doctors
and women
(especially women)
because even though they’re
totally free
we can’t allow them to be
that free.
Wave that opinion proud, America
for you are free
for the most part.

Or perhaps
Unemployment Registries
at seven-point-who-gives-a-fuck percent
because Freedom does not apply
to the lazy
and the willfully dispossessed
which of course
they are,
right America?
Wave it proud, America
for you are free
for the most part.

Also maybe
Student Loan Databases
crammed with those
stupid enough
to have wanted an education
in spite of being born
into the wrong tax bracket.
We’ll charge ya for schoolin’
but we’ll lock your ass up for free.
I’ve had the pleasure of both,
so wave it proud, America
because you are free
for the most part.

And while we’re on the subject
you could wave
a pair of golden handcuffs
for my brothers and sisters
locked up in penitentiaries
marginalized by profit margins
for various offenses
the least of which is usually
being colored
or poor
or having the wrong vices.
(Budweiser congratulates you on your freedom.
The Pharmaceutical Companies congratulate you on your freedom.)
So crack a cold one
and wave ‘em proud, America
for you are free
for the most part.

I will not even get into
Foreign Affairs
because I’d be here
next Independence Day
if I did.

Jack Daniels congratulates you on your freedom.
Frito-Lay congratulates you on your freedom.
ExxonMobil congratulates you on your freedom.

a friend driving through
your beautiful breadbasket
remarks upon
your not-so-beautiful reservations:
“It makes me ashamed
to be an American.”
And he is right
for the most part
because I drive by
your condescending convenience stores
and your service industry sweatshops
and I think to myself
“It makes me ashamed
to be an American.”

American Exceptionalism
Manifest Destiny
Indian Casinos
Assault Rifles
Wal Mart Patriotic Clothing
Domestic Beer Bellies
Cheetoh Fingers
BBQ Crematoriums
Drunk Driving
Sunglass Xenophobia
Gluttony Olympics
Blowing Shit Up
Implicit Racism
Political Othering
Diabetic Cheerleaders
NASCAR Grand Wizards

A star and a stripe
for every good citizen
as well as forty hot dogs
and a Keystone Lite.

What’s the over/under
on mass shootings today
I wonder.
After all,
gambling’s another great
American Pastime,
almost as cherished a
National Treasure
as Gun-Related Violence.
But combining the two?
Now that’s
American Exceptionalism.

How can we keep on rocking
in the Free World
when the radio is stuck
on Country
and the country is stuck
on Control?


5 responses »

  1. Truth is necessary! I believe Thomas Paine would certainly appreciate your opinion! Thomas Paine stood for truth regardless of the consequences! Good job!

  2. Dear Sterling,

    You are describing human nature. My advice to you is to go and observe human nature in a country that is not free. My next advice to you is to describe what you propose to do about the problems you identify. Do you have ideas that will work or are you merely fantasizing and indulging a need to feel superior? By the way Dawnasong, Thomas Paine stood for freedom. Freedom is objective. Truth is subjective. In freedom we debate the truth. In tyranny, the truth is dictated. Don’t get me wrong. Solutions are possible if the truth of the problem is understood. Sterling, please let your next poem be about solutions.

    Lou LaFollette

    • Lou Ellen,

      When politicians (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, et al) propose solutions in this country, they are shouted down or labeled “un-American” by the bully-headed corporatists. When writers, artists, intellectuals, and other thinking, engaged citizens do the same, we are met with a violent brand of anti-intellectualism and accused of being pretentious, condescending, or “superior.” Do not mistake my articulation or my intelligence as symptoms of a latent superiority complex, as I assure you they are not. The particular style of jingoistic cheerleading in this country is reactionary to the extreme and does not allow for criticism (constructive or otherwise), even if it is grounded in very realistic, concrete concerns. And how is the problem to be understood if those who dare to present it are condemned, discredited, and accused of being solipsistic fantasists? I would also debate your classifications of freedom and truth, although that is perhaps another discussion. Regardless, I appreciate your feedback and that you took the time to read my work.


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