Looking Back, Looking Forward


In the year 2000 in the city of St. Louis
voting machines malfunctioned,
and mostly black, mostly Democratic voters
waiting in line in plenty of time
were denied their right to vote

and the next day in Florida–
hanging chads, appeals and repeals,
so much bad behavior
and the Supreme Court stopped the clock,
broke the count,
and chose our leader
for the next four years

as President, He inherited an honorable treasury,
our national debt no longer red,
(a trillion dollar surplus the politicians said)
but He mailed it back to the taxpayer’s door

his first year had not ended
and the surplus was no more

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

came
screaming down
on us

firey images seered into our brains,
eyes wide, mouths agasp,
voices incredulous,
“Who could do this to us?”

the planet watched in horror
and quiet disbelief
throughout the world they cried with us,
empathized,
and shared our grief

our President stood strong,
promised justice for this wrong;
Americans listened and found comfort in his words…
frightened faces, shocked and in despair,
changed to anger and cried out for war

voices rode the airways
speaking strange new words
Al Qaeda, Taliban, Bin Laden, and jihad

patriots enlisted and traveled overseas
determined to fight terrorists
and keep our country free

but America was changing,
and very rapidly,
Homeland Security and the Patriot Act
reduced freedoms and expanded government

military tribunals for suspected terrorists
purposely created to avoid the courts,
ignoring due process and the presumption of innocence–
if you weren’t a terrorist, you’d never get to show it

some protested the changes, but most didn’t seem to care
with threat levels remaining high, anything else seemed fair

a perfect opportunity such a climate portends
a chance to sway the masses to achieve certain ends

overnight in the headlines another sudden change,
another “evil doer” in an opportunist game,
the nemesis of the Father, evil Saddam Hussein,
the new face of terror for Americans to blame
and so skillfully the message was entwined
Americans still reeling with the politics of the time
did not comprehend the past that loomed before us,
out of fear and anger, or perhaps, some private need,
without much questioning simply believed

some stood back and took the longer view,
tried to sway others more discussion was due,
but the Hawks wanted war and stoked the emotions more
yelled their bully words in hateful tones
manufactured a roar, a noise so intense
that anyone who questioned soon was silenced

with a new posture in the world and a preemptive strategy,
the President (and his Father’s men),
thumbed their noses at sanctions employed by the UN,
and set out to achieve what the Father never did

some of us remembered the event in ’93,
an attempt to kill the Father (accompanied with the family),
motive enough it seemed to those of us who doubted,
but labeled ” Un-American”, our concerns were overshadowed

He announced the invasion of Iraq in March 2003,
an “axis of evil” harboring WMDs
the Hawks cheered it on and our might we displayed–
the goodwill of the world slowly turned away

by May, He announced the end of major combat
and signed into law his third big tax cut,
in November He pledged over eighty-seven billion
to rebuild nations we weren’t “nation building”

despite the slow in revenue
there was no slow in spending
our economy– reported as strong–
and banks were still lending

the capture of Saddam in December 2003
brought a great triumph and a real victory
the perfect campaign boost and more
to launch his re-election in 2004

now here we are in December 2010–
looking back traditionally before another year begins
his last four years more often criticized,
but some say that history
will celebrate his legacy
and He’ll be shown to have been
a great leader
of this country

I have to acknowledge that I have my doubts
having been a critic myself
since his first election came about,
but in light of more recent events
I’m forced to admit
his “cut and spend” philosophy
has landed us square-in
the position his party has long championed

the Republican mantra for decades has been
a call for “lower taxes and less government”
they favor monopolies and private enterprise
but rail against the cost of public services

they’d like to privatize social security
what a boom for Wall Street that would be–
more money to speculate and gamble on our behalf
knowing they’d likely be saved in another crash

Republicans want vouchers to pay for private schools
and they like to promote it as good for public too,
but public schools are bound by rules that private schools don’t share
imposed by politicians whose kids don’t ever go there

that some changes are needed is surely fair to say
but vouchers would be just another unfair giveaway

Republicans are against government health care–
their campaign to villainize it has muddied the waters well–

seniors on Medicare
and veterans who’ve fought it
have been tricked into believing
they’ve never bought it

Republicans are masters of unity and public derision;
skillful in the craft of political illusion;
ardent competitors not crippled by facts;
admirable in a strictly strategic way—
they’re just better at it than the Democrats

Republicans claim a monopoly on religion and patriotism,
you’re either with them or against them—
and there will be no compromise—

they’re fond of the military and seem to own that too
along with family values (another monopoly)

now I’m not saying that all they want is wrong–
some of their ideas I think are really right-on;
I just don’t like their methods or their angry talk
and for all their loudness, they haven’t walked the walk

I’m not too proud of the Democrats at this point either
(they’ve just seemed to me the lesser of two evils)
but someone always profits from changes
and someone not so much

so who do you think will benefit next year
from all the spending cuts?

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About Glenda

Retired ... taking it slow and enjoying the simple things in life
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