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mission for amurika


(Visitor: “What should be our national mission?”)

A mission for Amurika! That’s surely what we need!

A moral cause to save the world, a banner and a screed,

So thousands of Amurikans, in every foreign land,

Exacerbate the problems that we never understand.

A mission for Amurika! All spreading like a rash,

Our families pay the price, our politicians take the cash;

A mission for Amurika! A noble new crusade

To mask domestic failures that our decadence has made;

Amurika becomes, meanwhile, dead broke and second-rate

To hide our own incontinence and glorify the State.

No more do dour Yankees toil to build themselves a barn;

Nor Southerners a cotton mill to spin their local yarn;

Nor tanned Mid-Western farmers volunteer to dig a drain;

Nor ranchers, strong and silent men, protect the hill and plain;

Nor neighbours build a library, a town hall or a kirk;

Let someone do that for us; it is frankly too much work!

We will not stop our daughter getting pregnant as a teen,

Nor can we teach our younger ones what mathematics mean;

Nor switching off the boob-tube, nor snorting less cocaine,

Nor sweep our streets ourselves – they’re such a bother to maintain.

A mission for Amurika! All rally ‘round the flag!

Let others do it for us and success is in the bag!

We’ll pay it on our credit cards or write another check

And feel completely pious getting suntans on the deck;

To solve the Great Unsolvables, to cure all global ills,

We’ll watch another ballgame and we’ll pop a few more pills,

We’ll stagger to the ‘fridge and back, the better to ensure

That through it all we don’t recall the people that we were.

A mission for Amurika! They repossess the car

While we reflect, in glory, how exceptional we are.

A mission for Amurika? Through piggy, blood-shot eyes,

One look into the mirror tells us where the challenge lies.

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Published: Oct 8, 2012
Author
Stephen Masty
Stephen Masty (1954-2015) was a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He was a journalist, a development expert, and a speechwriter for three US presidents, British royalty and heads of government in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. He spent most of his adulthood working in South Asia including Afghanistan, and he was a writer, poet and artist in Kathmandu.
"All comments are subject to moderation. We welcome the comments of those who disagree, but not those who are disagreeable."
5 replies to this post
  1. These problems affect Western democracies with one exception. Not even Britain is still stupid enough to believe that it needs a 'national mission.' Fixing itself would do just fine. If you reread the poem, that is the salient point.

  2. We need to wake up and see where we and are going we do not want to be another Europe!! Problems don't take care of themselves it takes people wit courage and vision we need to be that people again, we need to inspire our young people with the Constitution!! Regain morals, etics, fair play, and educate our kids!!!

  3. Mr. Masty, this is an excellent piece and very prescient. I have shared it with my friends and family and wanted to thank you for the work.

    Keep it up and maybe someday, somewhere, more people will appreciate the honesty in this poem.

    Best regards,
    Chris Fahy

  4. You can rant and rail as much as you like, but the fact is that ALL of USA so called culture is now patterned in the image of the anti-"culture" promoted by TV. And the death-saturated "values" of the military-industrial-"entertainment" complex, the death-saturated "values" of which permeate every minute fraction of uSA "culture".
    That anti-"culture" is completely indifferent to the well-being of either human beings or of Earthkind altogether.
    Indeed such a "culture" has already destroyed all previously existing forms of culture, and is effectively working for the destruction of both humankind and of Earthkind altogether.
    Furthermore the USA (in particular) was founded on "relgious", economic and political lies, the inevitable chickens of which are coming home to roost. Which is to say that the world is a perfect justice machine which always operates or is patterned by the immutable laws of karma (both individual and collective) – you always, sooner or later, and in one form or another reap what you, or your ancestors sow or sowed.

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