“Pity The Nation”

Pity the nation whose people are sheep, and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars,
whose sages are silenced, and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice, except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.

Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.

Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode and their freedoms to be washed away.

My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.”


Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the co-founder of the iconic City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. Born in 1919, he still goes to work every day.
He wrote this poem in 2007. It is as prescient today as it was then.