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.

― Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is the author of more than 30 books of poetry.

In 1994, San Francisco renamed a street in Ferlinghetti's honor, and in 1998, he was named the first poet laureate of San Francisco. He is the recipient of many international awards and honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Award for Contribution to American Arts and Letters, the Robert Frost Memorial Medal, and the National Book Foundation's Literarian Award, presented for "outstanding service to the American literary community,” among others. In 2003, he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2007, he was named Commandeur of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

He died on February 22, 2021, in San Francisco, California.  

Maybe we could, as a population, try to be more humane and less like those who attacked our capital and our democracy and who blindly follow a misguided mob mentality of hate, bigotry and spoon fed insurrection.  It always ends badly when mental midgets allow liars, bigots and bullies to shepherd and mislead them.

Helen Avila,

Pocatello