Dysfunctional Nation

"There's a circus coming to town…
Stealing all our dreams, Dreams for
sale, They sell 'em back to you…"¹
for hard earned money, earned by sweat
of brow and labors of hand and mind,
ignored in search of pursuits that are
themselves an insult to those pure of
body, heart, and soul, who seek but

good lives for their families and
themselves. Thwarted at every turn
by men and women on both sides of
the aisle, pretenders to the throne, who
may first have thought their intentions
noble, but now can be bought for shekels.

"Here sleep brave men, who, in the
deadly quarrel, Fought for their
country, and their life-blood poured…,"²
this "camp of death,"³ at West Point,
this final rest for men and women…
heroes for whom Butterfield's Taps
and the Amazing Grace of mournful
bagpipes bids last farewell to those

who gave their all in name of
God and country. Remembered not
by many, not even on the Day of
Memories, as we, a nation, left
behind, glimpse battles fought on
distant soil through veiled windows.

As day follows night, the ęther
glows with talking heads, their babble
not the talk of those with minds set
to purposeful ways of wringing hidden
insights from complex human discourse.
Rather Sirens, they, jackals
delivering music to lure
even the wisest to their deaths.

Trying in vain to invent the news,
to fill dreadful blocks of time, dead
still for the world to hear and see,
to sell their souls for dollars and cents,
as if that would cleanse them of their
sins and retrieve their souls redeemed.

Dysfunctional nation, failing to
grasp its destiny, beyond its
reach but not its vision. Dreams
unfulfilled, generations lost.
Now the Greatest exits Stage Left,
leaving behind Omaha, Juno,
and Gold, Flying Tigers o'er the Hump,
a flag at Iwo Jima.

In its debt we pray that what has
gone before shall not be lost…that
we shall once again earn our place
among nations, living in
harmony, joined for common good,
with respect and solicitude.

- Theodore Cohen

Langhorne, PA
Copyright 2009
  1. Talking Heads, "The Democratic Circus," Lyrics by David Byrne. Reprinted by permission of Mr. Byrne.
  2. Benson Lossing, The Hudson from the Wilderness to the Sea, 1866
  3. Ibid