A Dialogue With the Great Spirit – A Satirical Poem

October 4, 2012

Originally written the night of January 17-18, 1991

Upon hearing of the news on the radio in the evening of January 17, 1991 that President Bush had launched US bombing of Iraq, I spent much of the night into the wee morning hours of January 18 writing this satirical poem…….

 

O Great Spirit, Thank you for guiding our superior country, 
the United States, 
to conduct with nearly 2,000 military aircraft 
2,000 bombing missions a day
 or 85 every hour
 for days on end
 to “crush, clobber and devastate” 
the country of Iraq
 and Sheikdom of Kuwait
 with so few casualties of our own.

Thank you for endowing us with the fine resources
 and technical brilliance
 to arm each bomber with three million dollars in ordnance 
possessing amazing accuracy and guidance.

Thank you for aiding us in dropping 36 million pounds of bombs 
every three hours,
 the most incredible bombing performance
 in the history of the world.

Thank you for enabling us to identify President Saddam Hussein as 
a Hitler-like dictator 
rather than a human being
 so that we can murder, maim and devastate without feeling any pain. 
In fact, we can feel satisfied and pleased,
 and enjoy “euphoria,” as Wall Street did 
on the morning after the bombing of Iraq was initiated.

Thank you for enabling us 
to continually live by a double standard 
whereby we can ignore and defy U.N. resolutions
 condemning and ordering the cessation of Israel’s occupation
 of nearly two million Palestinians while insisting that Iraq 
withdraw from the Sheikdom called Kuwait
 or be bombed into the Stone Age.

Thank you for enabling us to ignore entirely 
any historical understanding of the earlier colonial 
interventions into the Middle East
 whereby arbitrary boundaries were created by Western powers 
dividing historical cultures and lands into pieces to ensure
Western control of oil.

Thank you for enabling us to ignore completely
 any of Iraq’s allegations of long-standing border disputes, 
infractions in oil well locations and oil policies, 
and questions over the legitimate sovereignty of Kuwait itself.

Thank you for enabling us
 to self-righteously champion peace without justice,
 when justice is the only way to peace. 
And thank you for enabling us 
to have the audacity to actively ignore U.N. resolutions 
condemning the United States government for our bombing of Libya,
 our terrorizing of Nicaragua for ten years and our invasions of Panama and Grenada.

Thank you for helping us forget that our civilization was 
and continues to be
 built on a foundation of genocide, genocide and more genocide
 of the Native Americans,
 the U.S. government violating each of nearly 400 treaties 
signed with the natives,
 and help us to forget that our civilization was constructed with 
slavery of black people
forcefully kidnapped from their native lands 
and with subsequent exploitation and terrorizing of blacks
 as well as European, Latin and Asian immigrants.

Thank you for enabling us to forget about our own 
violent past and present 
dominated by continual racist attitudes here and abroad
 whereby our government over the decades has assaulted and 
murdered 
countless citizens in the labor, peace and justice movements.

Thank you for giving us the wisdom to spend $1 trillion 
in the 1980s 
on high-tech “conventional” weaponry 
so that we can actually use it as an alternative to the more
politically difficult 
nuclear weapons.

Thank you for enabling us to have become so
 militarily superior 
that no nation or group of nations could ever match us 
and that every nation is subject to being devastated by us 
if they defy our national interests.

Thank you for guiding us to these accomplishments
 while enabling us to ignore our own economic decline,
 our increasing poverty and homelessness, 
especially among single mothers and their children,
 our own lack of quality health care for all our citizens,
 our drug and crime problems;
 to ignore the increasing ecological destruction of our planet 
that threatens to extinguish our species 
and to ignore the increased poverty of 75% of the world’s 
population, 
a poverty 
that breeds revolutionary fervor.

In fact, we are very appreciative that we are able to be 
in deep denial 
about so many realities in our own country and around the globe.
 Otherwise we could not continue our way of life.

Thank you for having anointed us as the morally superior people 
of the world,
enabling us to decide for so many others 
how they should live and conduct their lives.

Thank you for helping us to squander and exploit
 half of the world’s resources
 but with five percent of the world’s population
 and to be deluded into believing that the oil under Arab land
 in the Middle East 
is really our oil
 to fuel the American Way Of Life at the expense of others.

Thank you for guiding us to spend $5 billion last year
 on weight reduction diets 
while 40,000 children died every day in the world
 for lack of food and nutrition.
 Let us forget that those children die not for lack of food
 on the planet
 but for lack of ability to buy food from the sellers.

Thank you, Great Spirit,
 for having so richly blessed us with material comforts 
and for enabling us to forcefully intervene around the globe 
with military, covert, economic and political devices 
to assure our access to cheap resources,
 cheap labor
 and lucrative markets.

Thank you for granting us the capacity to possess 
historical amnesia,
 current delusions, 
and psychological denial 
so that we won’t feel conflict and knots in our stomachs 
about these injustices.

But oh! Great Spirit
 we need help to maintain our denial,
 our ignorance, 
our arrogance. 
Please help us to maintain our double standard,
 our American Way of Life (AWOL) 
no matter what the cost to other human beings,
 other nations,
 other species, 
and to the sacred and indispensable ecology of Mother Earth.
 Please, Great Spirit, please, 
I plead with you, help us to avoid any risks,
 pain, adversity, 
or major changes.
 Help us to avoid taking personal responsibility for our lives 
and for my life.
 Please, I hope you don’t call upon me to speak
 the truth of my heart, 
to make the kind of radical changes that some suggest 
are inevitable
 in our lifestyle, global attitudes and consumption patterns.

Please, Great Spirit,
help me to remain in your good graces 
without having to make any big changes.
 Can’t I live, think, and feel 
“business as usual”?  
Do I have to learn about unconditional love? 
I don’t like a lot of people and what they do. 
I don’t really want to take personal responsibility for my life
 and the action and policies of my government.

But it seems 
that you are speaking to me. 
Are you saying that it would be good to listen
to the inner voice 
that is suggesting that my understandings and wishes are 
backward?  
Are you calling me to make 
radical changes 
in community with other kindred souls,
 to take what seems like crazy stands,
 to speak the truth of only what I believe in my heart to be true?

Are you asking me to willingly consider the need for
 continual transformation, 
even to participate in nonviolent revolutionary change? 
If that is the case, please help me find others to discuss this with. 
Please give me strength and clarity and vision
 and the courage to stand up and express with my life
 my heart-felt truth,
 even if it conflicts with my government
 and its spokespersons
 and majority opinion.

If what my government is doing seems to 
be utterly 
insane and barbaric 
but the majority support it as 
necessary and patriotic,
 should I still stand up and take all the risks involved 
in advocating justice for all people,
 including Arabs and blacks 
and Hispanics and women and natives?

That seems so hard, so difficult
 when the society seems
 so entrenched in its destructive ways 
and continually talks in double-speak.
 You say you still urge me to say it
 the way I see it?
 To express it the way I feel it? 
And to have faith that I’ll find the strength to do it?
 You’re saying I’m not alone?  
Oh!
 I guess there are others.
 I guess they’re right here.

Shall we begin today? 
Please help me. 
I will commit to helping you.
 We really need each other now for the long haul.
 For radical change.
 So we can survive with dignity
on the planet with millions of other humans.

We are all equal.
We need to evolve 
from Homo hostilis to Homo amicus.

Thank you for speaking to me and encouraging me to share
 this dialogue with you.


2 Comments

  1. Barbara Humphrey
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Powerful words, but I fear we hear but don’t listen, distracted by the gods of greed and power and acceptance, fearful to step out. Thank you for speaking what so many of us feel but falter trying to find the way.

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