The people united

Joining with a couple hundred others
On an overcast, temperate day in San Francisco
To say a loud, resounding NO! to war

We are not all in agreement with each other about the details.
Some of us believe the war is a proxy, put-up job
And others that it is a case of resistance to imperial aggression

And yet here we are, all of us, cheering speeches
Attacking the lords of war,
The ugly machinations of empire

That mangle and cripple and crush
Those who don’t make the decisions or the loot
But whose bodies take the bullets

Who will win this war? No one
But it is worth asking, Who will profit?
And whose sons and daughters lie dead in cold ditches?

We are on a San Francisco street corner
Demanding that our country stop supplying arms
And instead insist on negotiations

But we know all too well
After Korea, after Viet Nam, after Chile, after Iraq,
After Afghanistan, after Serbia and Bosnia, after Libya, after Syria,

After Grenada and Cuba and Venezuela and Haiti
After Somalia, after Lebanon, after Panama, after . . .
We know all too well that hegemonic hubris is a disease

A disease of oligarchs, of the obscenely rich and powerful,
Of pornographic princes who bathe in lucre,
A disease that rots the soul

A disease for which there is no treatment
A disease for which there is no cure but one –
El pueblo unido, the people united.

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.