Social Justice Poetry

destroying democracy poems

Peddlers | A Social Justice Poem by Guy Farmer

Mendacious malefactors
Gleefully ditching integrity
For fistfuls of cash
Diverted to secret accounts.
Terrifying the rubes,
Making them look the other way
While separating them
From what little they
Still clutch.
Venal peddlers of untruth
Wrapped in mantles of righteousness
Threatening to blow up
The whole thing if they
Don’t get their way.
Predictably oppressive regime
Bent on absolute power and control,
Simpletons demolishing honor
In the name of personal gain.
Malevolent farce masking
Complete incompetence,
Merciless extortion.

White Lie | A Social Justice Poem by Anna Kander

wave it like a white flag, surrendering

with handshakes and smiles
so *civil*

project upon it red and blue patriotism

stars like ordnance exploding
stripes like prison bars

(truth, held captive)

parade it like a memory

celebrating men who slaughtered brothers
to enslave

(sense, held captive)

whisper, like wind whipping fabric:

the emperor’s new flag still has no colors

whisper, like rending garments:

the problem is not one man, elected
the problem is a tyrannous minority who sustains him
the problem is small men chasing votes

stuffing our futures
like paper scraps into ballot boxes

(humanity, held captive)

wave the white lie, blank as a black screen

like electronic voting machines swallowing code
returning unverifiable results

the next war will not be civil

In Trump’s America | A Social Justice Poem by Dale Champlin

As children we sang, “Oh beautiful for spacious skies,” to America.
Imagining our superiority, we knew nothing but lies about America.

We were so innocent, we didn’t know we were great.
We were so young, we were proud to pledge allegiance to America.

We stood by our desks and put our hands over our first grade hearts.
Now that we are older we clench our fists at Trump’s America.

We can’t understand why blue-collar workers put their trust in him.
Our president scoffs at laws, doesn’t pay taxes, and gets rich off America.

While Trump postures behind a curtain of privilege—
the drug addicted and homeless pass out in the streets of America.

He back combs his pompadour, bullies his opponents and incites our enemies,
taunts, twitters and is ignorant about the history of America.

Each night we go to bed, thinking it can’t get any worse—
but every morning it has. I guess we were wrong about America.

I know missiles are pointed at our capitol, the rust belt and me.
In the land of the brave, how can I be brave if I don’t feel safe in America?

We build fences, break promises and turn our backs on climate change.
It’s no wonder the whole world has lost faith in America.

Try to breathe all this red and white smoke until you turn blue—
amid forest fires and hurricanes, children are hungry right here in America

While the rich get richer the poor can’t afford an education.
Our nation is divisible by money, race and gender here in America.

When sincerity is a thing of the past how do we know what is true?
But half of us still buy the lies about our great again America.

How can children at church or school be used for target practice?
How did we get here we wonder? Fearing the worst, we weep for America.

Song of America | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

I.

I see you, Walt Whitman, an American
Rough, a cosmos! I see you face to face!

I see you and the nameless faceless
Faces in America’s ageless crowds of men
and women who you saw in your mind’s eye.

I see you crossing the river on your ferry.
I see you walking down America’s public roads

Where everyone is worthy. Neither time,
Place nor distance separates.

II.

For you once saw the corrupt currents,
Fast flowing into the land that you loved.
And you once saw that which had departed

With the setting sun, half an hour high,
For when another is degraded,
so are you and I.

You once saw what had flowed in with the
Rising flood-tides feverishly pounding,

Sea water soaked—saturated,
With exploitation, bribery,
Falsehood and maladministration.

III.

When you saw the motionless wings of
Twelfth-month sea-gulls, when you walked

On Manhattan Island, when you watched the
Great ships of Manhattan, north and west—

Did you see Wall Street banks seizing
Homes of your beloved countrymen,
Crossing in their fragile ferryboats?

The carpenters, the Quakers, the scientists,
The opium eaters—the immigrants, the squaws,

The boatmen, the blacksmiths—-the farmers,
Mechanics, the sailors and priests?

IV.

Did you see monstrous megaton
Corporations feasting on America’s flesh and
Blood, nameless faceless parasites sucking the

Marrow from the bones of your beloved land,
Like a malevolent disease?

V.

For you saw very clearly the political and economic
Malfunctioning mutant ties that connect us.
Neither time, place nor distance separates.

And you saw very clearly the sickly green sludge
Secreted by lobbyists to their bought and sold

Henchmen soldier baby-kissers—slowing,
Stopping the flow of nourishing rushing sea
Tides into your revered democracy.

VI.

You saw dark evil patches—the clinging selfish
Sinister grasp of the flourishing one per cent
Oligarchs, who lusted, grubbed, lied, stole—

Were greedy, shallow, sly, angry, vain, cowardly,
malignant—Seeking only to hold on to their
Spoils and preserve the status quo.

VII.

Each still furnishes its part towards the death of
America’s democracy. Each still furnishes its part

Towards destroying her soul. The mocking bird still
Chants his tearful musical shuttle to the barefooted

Bareheaded boy, and the final word superior for
America may still be her Death, Death, Death,

Death. And you, lonely father, graybeard more
Beloved—the generous sea, she’s whisper’d me, too.

A Nation in Shame | A Social Justice Poem by Roy Pullam

When unknown truths
Tumble from their hiding places
The ugly knowledge
That feet of clay
Crumble before our eyes
And idols
Fall from their lofty places
Fact falls into quicksand
And all we know
Retreats to doubt
When the brain
Divides into poles
Of disgust
And yet we still feel love
Two feelings
We juggle
Trying to hold both
Reputation erodes
So easy to forget
The good men do
In the face
Of their failings
And we are reminded
Of what a miserable time
We live in