Monday, January 25, 2021


Patriotism is not a virtue
However many patriots proclaim
It is and heroic and brave. It’s not.

Nor is it a necessary evil.
Patriotism is a strategy,
A useful weapon of preservation

And concentration to keep the people
Motivated to fight for the idea
Their identity depends on a rule.

We might say it serves the kings who wield it
To gin up support for their wars, tyrants
Who invoke it to torment dissenters,

Scoundrels hoping to escape punishment,
And all that’s often true or true enough.
But patriotism, parasitic

As any self-replicating virus
In the body politic, emerges
From burst skulls it’s infected for itself,

To infect further patriots, make more
And more irredentist, jingoistic,
Xenophobic, passionate, destructive

Martyrs for . . . What, exactly? Exactly.
Patriotism doesn’t care which country
You come from, which label flags your fervor.

It’s patriotism! Could be this land’s,
Could be that land’s, could be your land’s, could be
My land’s! Acerbus non decorum est.

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