BC (January 28,1929 / Oakland, California)

Pro Patria Mori

Human nature
forged by a million years
of evolutionary pressures
drives us to divide society into groups
of US and THEM
begetting a collective
self-worship
that celebrates OUR virtues
and OUR ideals
bemoans the perfidy
of those perceived
as having lesser values
and makes us deaf and dumb
to reason and compassion.

We call it patriotism:
black-and-white thinking
that allows us to kill
without conscience.

But I must tell you
we need not
be slaves
to genetic proclivities
that may have served
our forebears well
but spur us
to cruelty and destruction.

Brutishness will be
within us always
but so too will be
benevolence
and we can choose.

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