In the first Great War, we made the world safe
not for democracy but for corporations.
In the second Great War, our tanks and planes
crushed the fascists.
As we celebrated our days of victory,
The strange fruit of poor colored men
hung from our southern trees.
Brilliant scientist lands man on moon,
orbits Sputnik around the earth,
predicts rain or snow without divine guidance.
Yet in a Far Eastern land, one million people
are savagely murdered, with our blessing.
Perhaps human rights means to kill humanists
but to spare rightist despots.
Or simply it’s O.K. to kill those you dislike.
It’s O.K. to kill for greed;
It’s not O.K. to kill for shelter or healthcare.
Our planes circle the world in days,
cross our continent in hours.
Yet in the America of Americas,
We slaughter 200,000 natives.
What for? Banana plantations?
As science advances, we have learned
to relive our history:
Holocaust, the middle passage, the genocide of natives,
all done with both spiritual blessing and damning.
Our vaccines wipe out smallpox,
poison the dreaded polio,
and stagnate the mighty aids virus.
Yet in Central Africa, we hack to death one million lives.
In the Balkans, children of the same tribe
but worshipers of different gods,
Slaughter each other in the name of ethnic cleansing.
In the land of the Bible, the same tribe,
different religions, terrorize each other.
One terrorist drops bombs from the sky;
The other terrorist explodes bombs from the ground.
Is this progress? In the age of great science,
have we created a better world?
Our bay lies polluted with mercury,
A gift from the gold rush.
D.P.T. almost killed our national emblem.
I ask you. Has our progress created a better world?
A better humanity?