10 Signs That America Is the Most Corrupt Nation

(A poem based on an article by Juan Cole at Truthdig)

1. Wealth Disparities
Trickle down economics
Is an excuse
For the rich to piss on the poor.
So, look up, ye wretched of the Earth!
We’re happy to piss on your faces
While you cry out for “more”!

2. Human Carbon Emissions
I deny with a straight face
That I’ve anything to do
With the CO2 I haphazardly spew
From my Lotus, or my factory—
Bringing to you
The latest baubles I’ve convinced you
You can’t live without.

3. Endless Political Campaigns
Ridiculous to think they last a year or two
When, in fact, they’ve been going on
Since Washington chopped down the cherry tree
In quasi-actuality,
Then dressed in military garb
Impressing all the delegates
He was best-suited to make us “free.”

4. Lobbyists, bankers, bribes.
Excuse me for being
Unpolitically correct,
But wasn’t that the very thing
The “self-radicalized,” reforming Jew
Got so upset about when he threw
all those money-changers out
Of the Temple?

5. Not Prosecuting the Villains of the Meltdown
What else is new?
When Polk invaded Mexico
And our legislators cheered him on,
Did anyone besides Thoreau
Cry “foul,” let’s end this now
Once and for all?

6. Bloated Military Budgets
Forget the nitpicking, if you please!
It’s not easy to maintain
A thousand military bases around the world,
“dedicated to the proposition”
That we’re the “exceptional” people
And God loves us best!
What’s a couple of trillion bucks mislaid
Got to do with “bad guys” slayed?

7. Our Prison-Industrial Complex
3 Strikes and you’re out—
Works in baseball, why not crime?
We’re a sporting people, and besides,
Better to pay the minimum-minimum-minimum wage
To polish belt buckles for the troops
Then deal with marchers in the streets
Squawking about “fairness.”

8. Domestic Spying
How else control a restive group
Of malcontents out-of-the-loop
Of what the country stands for?
When everyone fears everyone
Everyone will get a gun.
Fear’s the friend of governments
Seeking to steer malcontents
Against each other.

9. Insider Trading & Revolving Doors
If I’m spying, why wouldn’t I
Occasionally lapse,
Profit from some Great Collapse
I see coming down the gilded pike?
If prices of a stock should spike–
and my foreknowledge tells me when—
why shouldn’t I collect a million,
put the kid through the Ivy League,
take my seat on the Corporate Board?

10. Asset Forfeiture
Why shouldn’t our cops seize what they can?
Could anything be more American?
Forget your Citizens’ Rights’ complaints!
They’re neither paid nor trained for being saints!

Gary Corseri has published/posted poems, articles and stories at Dissident Voice, The Greanville Post, Uncommon Thought Journal, CounterPunch, Countercurrents, Transcend Media Service, Veterans News Now, The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine, Common Dreams, and hundreds of other worldwide venues. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere, and he published novels, poetry collections, and a literary anthology (edited), Manifestations. He has taught in US and Japanese universities and in US prisons and public schools. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Gary can be reached at gary_corseri@comcast.net. Read other articles by Gary.