Grinning men, by Angi Holden

Their cruelty makes them feel good,
makes them feel proud, happy,
closer to one another.

In such a whirlwind it can be hard to keep track.

Children of immigrants, protected status revoked,
a blanket ban on visas for Chinese students,
and for same-sex partners of foreign officials.

Supporters cheer as the president mocks a professor,
her testimony. Now malice is embraced as virtue, impossible to contain.

Cruelty and rhetoric, intimately connected, flay his targets,
Adolescent male cruelty: a bonding mechanism,
a vehicle for intimacy through contempt. They have done it together.

We hear the cruel laughter:
immigrant children separated from families;
a child with Down syndrome separated from her mother.
News hosts mock a survivor of massacre,
the women who said the president had assaulted them,
the teen survivors of a school shooting.

The president mocks the thousands killed
and tens of thousands displaced by hurricane;
the black athletes protesting killings by police;
the women of #MeToo;
the disabled reporter whose crime was reporting truthfully.

The perpetrators of this cruelty enjoy it;
they enjoy it with one another. Their shared laughter
is an adhesive that binds them to one another.

Taking joy in suffering is more human
than most would like to admit.
Somewhere between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men
is the community built on the anguish of those unlike them.

They pledge fealty to principles
they have no intention of respecting.
Supporters who fancy themselves champions of free speech,
who want to ban immigration by an entire religion,
who encourage police to brutalize suspects,
now lament the state of due process.

A clear principle: Only the anointed are entitled to rights,
protections of the law, immunity from it.
The rest are entitled only to cruelty.
The powerful have ever kept the powerless in their place.



from: ADAM SERWER writing in The Atlantic

2 thoughts on “Grinning men, by Angi Holden

  1. A strong and thought provoking poem. I can relate to it. The far-right politicians who are ruling Italy at the moment are quite similar to that President… Ignorant, selfish and arrogant. Migrants and refugees are the enemies, an easy scapegoat to blame for anything wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

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