Why I should really stop paying so much attention to the news (or I love my country, but I’m not in love with my country) (a poem)

I set out to write something light and snappy. This tale of disillusionment is what I ended up with.

My country is a child
filled with hope and curiosity
chasing the dreams
society has yet to crush out of her
but we can’t say anything
because we want to let her dream

My country is the idealist
full of enthusiasm and ideas
unable to put anything into practice
despite his best efforts
but we can’t say anything
because we know he’s trying

My country is the well-meaning soul
who will rescue an injured animal
and nurse it back to health
but ignore the homeless man on the corner
but we can’t say anything
because we might hurt his feelings

My country is the self-help guru
loved by millions
with answers to everyone’s problems
but whose own life is an absolute mess
only we can’t say anything
because we couldn’t get tickets to the event

My country is the kind stranger
who helps out when there’s trouble
then reminds us at every opportunity
about that time he got us out of a rough spot
but we can’t say anything
because he did get us out of a rough spot

My country is the drunk relative
at Thanksgiving dinner
who says and does all sorts of stupid shit
embarrassing everyone
but we can’t say anything
because we still have to get through dessert

My country is the nosy neighbor
always getting into everyone else’s business
then complaining
when we talk to him about something
so now we can’t say anything
because we still live on the same block

My country is the hot date
who takes you out to dinner
then expects you to pay half
even though you had only a salad and a soft drink
but you can’t say anything
because you just want to get the evening over with

My country is the recorded message
that assures us ‘your call is important to us
please continue to hold
for the next available representative’

but we can’t say anything
because we’d be talking to a recording

My country is the storm chaser
following tornadoes
driving into the eye of the storm
ahead of the disaster
but we can’t say anything
because we can’t cope with the aftermath

My country is the reality show
unfolding in real time
yet sculpted and manipulated
for maximum drama
but we can’t say anything
because we have to keep watching

My country is the orange narcissist
constantly telling anyone who will listen
what a disaster ‘they’ are
and how wonderful and rich he is
We can’t say anything
because we can’t get a word in edgewise

My country is the mass killer
just shot his victims
to appease his hatred
because he’s white, he lives/because he’s not white, he’s dead
but we can’t say anything
because we’re not supposed to ‘politicize the tragedy’

My country is Congress
saying prayers and expressing outrage
accomplishing nothing
while bills languish in committee or die on the floor
but we can’t say anything
because we can’t afford to buy them back

My country is an opinion poll
it could go either way
The candidates are statistically even
(within the margin of error)
but we can’t say anything
because…

My country is divided
red is red
blue is blue
and never the twain shall meet
but we can’t say anything
because we don’t talk to each other anymore

(28 June 2016—posted June 29th)

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