8/28/20: America’s Attention Deficit Disorder #poetry #essay #PoeticEssay

8/28/20: America’s Attention Deficit Disorder #poetry #essay #PoeticEssay

We locked down in March

in order to flatten the curve

but then got tired and re-opened

before we were ready

and a lot of extra people died

We were outraged when George Floyd was murdered by police

Black Lives Matter!

A couple of months later

Police shoot Jacob Blake several times

in the back

Two protesters are murdered in the aftermath

another maimed

and now Black Lives Matter not so much

We can’t stay focused on root causes

We just worry that a Wendy’s got vandalized

We can’t stay away from the racism

and blame the victims

We can’t sort out the white nationalist violence

and the politicians’ who incite it

Our democracy may be dying

because we can’t pay attention

can’t stay focused

We can’t stay focused on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

The Declaration of Independence

and the moral teachings of every religion and humanist philosophy

We need brief social media posts

We call short pieces too long

Our entertainment has to move quickly

A 30 second commercial might have hundreds of quick cut edits

Some people graduate from college without having to write an essay

The Presidential Polls usually bounce around

The famous “October Surprise”

Campaign professionals exploit the fact that we have A.D.D.

Decisions made based upon our reaction to the last thing that we heard or saw …

People who suffer have focused minds

Black basketball players speaking about what it is like to worry that their little brothers and sisters

or black coaches’ children

could get killed for no reason

or punished for merely having dignified outrage

at insult and abuse

Nurses who see communal death

day after day after day

and fear getting sick themselves

because of lack of proper protection

stay focused

They know a genocide continues in America

eliminating the unproductive old

and the unjustly persecuted people of color.

We walk through our lives unaware of their arc

Unconsciously fulfilling stories written by the rich

Happily surrendering our power of self-determination

Just existing

in our one-thing-after-another manner

In denial of death

in denial of our own misery

It’s not that we can’t see what is going on

we just can’t keep seeing it

easy pickings

for murderers and thieves.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

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