"Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." ~ John Stuart Mill
A Memorial to Mr. Lincoln
Note: I went to Washington DC a few years back, only to find that the National Archives, the only site I really wanted to see there, were closed for the next two years. I wondered at the time if the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights would still be there when the building reopened.
A bit upset, I went to the Lincoln Memorial, instead, and wrote this poem.
I came to DC to see the Declaration
Of causes impelling us to separation,
And basing on liberty a new improved nation'
But the Archives were closed due to renovations.
So I walked around a bit.
And amidst your monument's reflection I reflected,
Pondering the statue my country erected,
To honor you, and ensure you're respected
For all that you did once you were elected.
Glorified and deified,
Your image engraved on our money;
Sanctified and Idolized,
I find it a little funny'
In our time you're seen as freedom's friend,
But in your day, your subjects prayed
That you're reign of fear would end.
You sit in a modern-day Parthenon,
Celebrating the liberty that's gone,
You sit in your throne, made of stone, happily
Enjoying the view of a nation, half-slave and half-free:
Gaze out to what you've accomplished, good man,
The Korean War memorial's only a drop in the pail,
A step on the trail, of the legacy of warfare you've brought us to hail:
IRS, DEA, ATF, DOJ,
Ruby Ridge, CIA--it was you who showed the way
To Keelhaul and 'Nam, and dropping the bomb;
Seizing gold, printing cash and the stock-market crash;
And a million harmless souls rotting slowly in jail.
This is the Union's main city, good sir,
Add London to Sparta and Moscow then stir
In a cauldron of despotism on tyranny's fire,
Thirty-six Doric columns that we're taught to admire,
One for each state, you sealed their fates,
As building blocks for your mighty empire.
Facing down ivory steps,
You can't turn around,
You got your back facing, you're famed grin disgracing,
Arlington cemetery ground.
How many there fell at Kernstown?
How many there died at Chantilly?
How many died at Manassas?
How many at Salem's Church?
As you had slaves working in your neighborhood,
As you burned Atlanta, just to show that you could,
As you slaughtered so many who never had slaves,
As you enriched railroads, and those who dug graves,
As you prepared my country for a history of lies,
As your stench of death infected the skies,
As six hundred thousand died before their time,
As you caged those who spoke of your unspeakable crime,
As you guaranteed the hate would last one hundred years,
As you confirmed the Founders' most terrible fears,
As you betrayed your oath and turned brother against brother,
As you created widows and childless mothers,
How many did Gangrene slowly sneak away--
Before you went painlessly, enjoying a play?
But the greatest casualty of your administration,
Was extolled so vividly in that documentation,
Neglected in today's public education,
And now closed to the public due to renovations.
And I hope one day people see, through and through,
The tyrant so honored in this memorial to you.