he went on the stump and he told everybody who would listen

he went on the stump and he told everybody who would listen
“they are making you sick, they are making you unhappy
everybody thinks their side is picked on
everybody thinks there is a rumble
and it’s because of them, the real them
the ones who feed us
the ones who stand in the schoolyard hollering
“Fight! Fight!” and push us in our backs, into the middle
surprised and scared to find we are the main event
who whip us, and pump us, and wind us up
then tell us how we’re all worked up
ask yourself who has the biggest voice
ask yourself where all this vitriol begins
ask yourself who stands to win if they can bring
the circus maximus, the greatest show on earth
you are the gladiators
you are the clowns
you are the christians
you are the mob and thy have trained your throats
to tremble with anticipation for the rush of blood
they own the emperor
they own the lions
and they are lying to you every god damned day
every day”

and the people knew something must be wrong
and the people responded to the passion
and the people turned to see
how they should feel about it all
but before the day was out their masters
told them with indisputable logic
that haters gotta hate
then someone shouted “Fight! Fight!”
and we were all distracted by the hands in our back.

—Don Whittington


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