Mirror Warrior

The land where I live
as all others before it
demands protection
we are told always to fear
barbarian hordes
at the gates
an agitated ocean of hate
raging against the levees
foaming and roiling
coming over the top
to do away with the triple anathema
of truth, liberty and justice
to scrub our land clean
and dirty it
in the image of their own
to stand against them
we have raised an army
of tanks, nuclear warheads
intercontinental ballistic missiles
armor piercing bullets
depleted uranium shells
and men in uniform
uniformed to lose individuality
to be one, unified
an undifferentiated mass
dehumanized
a symbol of death
coming to sweep the enemy away

Unfortunately, back at home
in the land where I live
many people in that land too
see the soldier as dehumanized
a man bereft of humanity
don’t get me wrong
they support him
they support our troops
but for them too
the soldier is a symbol
a fetish
an object of veneration
individuated they are objectified
made into the image of their worshippers
who see themselves and their beliefs in the soldier
the soldier that has become a mirror
a reflection wherein
the face of bigotry, xenophobia and hate
can be seen
screaming in the backwoods
howling in rural hinterlands of poverty
in trailer parks of white destitution
they forget
out of the fatigues
helmet off, face washed
the soldier is a man
with his own history
and not a blank slate
to be filled in by the politically ambitious
religiously blinkered and violently frightened
gun-toting cowards
of my land
living in the mirror darkly

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