As we grieve for people, for leaders, for countries, who seem to have lost their way, we must not lose focus on finding a way to bring those people, those leaders, those countries back.....
A student recently shared these writings with me, and in light of the events of this week, I think they need to be shared again.....
"My friends and my road-fellows, pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that flows not from its own winepress.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except among its ruins, and will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings, and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another with trumpetings again.
Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation."
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI using the quote above as inspiration, said:
"Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty."
Listen to his words again.... as poet Staceyann Chin reads them to us.