Schism of Sympathy

Projected onto other’s bodies
thrust into their lives, their minds
forced to identify
with their aspirations and actions
this
in the form of popular entertainment
theater, novels, cinema
nurtured in us and increased
our empathy
heightened our ability to sympathize
feel for the plights and dreams
of our neighbors
and of complete far-away strangers
violence declined precipitously
the human family became much tighter knit
but within great peace
always there is the cacophonic voice
of ravening rumbling war
and loud its clarion call could be heard
howling, a ripping wind
of screaming poverty exploited
on talk shows, on news
as accusations fly, fingers point
crowds jeer
the cheater, the bum, the cheap whore
a dreadful din of demonization
condemnation of welfare recipients
blasting their lazy bones
without mention of hungry children
workers stripped of unions
fired for no reason
but to buttress the soaring palisades
of the master’s castle walls
they chose deliberately
to ignore the needy honest majority
instead to focus on proud frauds
this calculated attack on compassion
eroded our moral judgment
so sick and depraved
did a vast segment of society become
that they mocked victims of rape
defended serial child molesters
cheered and applauded
politicians who favored allowing the uninsured
to get sick and die
they wore Purple Heart band-aids
to demean the sacrifices of our service men
while they made heroes
out of racist vigilantes
homicidal police
and homophobic shop owners
the enormity
of what these callous promoters of schism wrought
had but one –
one agenda
a terrible eruption of cruelty
to put an end to humankind’s
humanity

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