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American Independence Day

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The 4th July is American Independence Day, surely a suitable occasion to consider the role of America in the world?

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      04.07.2012 11:19
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      Rhymed reflections on Britain's independence from the USA

      American Independence Day!
      If George the Third had had his way
      There would of course be no such thing,
      But he was quite a silly King,
      His grasp of real life so skittish
      He blew the chance to keep as British
      The colonies across the pond.
      When told they wanted to abscond
      Because they loathed the tax on tea
      He could have said: "Leave it to me;
      I'll get that lousy impost lifted
      Or anyway to coffee shifted
      (Right now you might not think that sucks -
      Just wait until they found Starbucks).

      "Next thing, I understand you want,
      From Georgia right up to Vermont*,
      And all the land mass in between
      On the Atlantic-seaboard scene -
      The Carolinas North and South,
      The mess around the Hudson's mouth -
      Is to be fully represented
      Your lack of MPs being resented.
      Okay, sure thing, no sweat, you've got it
      (Though look ahead and you may spot it
      Isn't always such a boon
      To have some pompous old buffoon
      Spouting self-important speeches
      With hand in till; who needs such leeches?)

      "But if you want it, that's resolved
      And thereby all our problems solved;
      Henceforth, with no more aggravation
      We'll go on as a single nation."
      Such words, they might have turned the tide
      And kept the colonists onside,
      But being of less than nimble mind
      Old George said nothing of the kind.
      Alas, he was a silly king;
      Forget the crown and all that bling,
      The sceptre, orb and sparkly stuff
      Between them are not quite enough
      To hide the truth or to disguise
      When he who wears them isn't wise.

      In truth his subjects thought he'd lost it
      And seemingly at massive cost. It
      Didn't help that he was quite
      Eccentric and, whilst being polite,
      Conversed with some unusual friends
      Including trees. 'Where will this end?'
      The senior courtiers scratched their heads
      And had his scratched, and had him bled
      And purged and blistered by the quacks.
      In those days medicine was lax,
      And remedies were wont to fail,
      So it was all to no avail.
      While he was banished to the wings
      His regent son pulled all the strings.


      Eleven score and sixteen years
      Ago poor George's darkest fears
      Were realised and, to his frustration,
      The USA became a nation.
      Maybe the time's now ripe to wonder
      If that was really such a blunder.
      The minuses are well rehearsed
      The pluses are too seldom versed.
      It's true the colonies have thrived;
      Our fortunes, when compared, have dived,
      And, whilst it doesn't do to bitch,
      One has to grant they're rather rich
      And powerful beyond all reason,
      For such are the rewards of treason.

      But they'd have thrived in any case,
      A continent their living-space,
      Against our isle, they'd room to grow
      And tap the benefits that flow
      From all that teeming natural wealth,
      Their populace in rudest health
      Multiplying many fold,
      New world outnumbering the old.
      The upshot would be role reversal;
      (I fear the rule is universal)
      Their tail would soon have wagged our dog
      In their machine we'd be a cog.
      Perhaps, in terms of future powers,
      The independence won was ours.

      For we were spared their civil war
      And slavery, which went before,
      And all the racial strife that followed,
      Those like the Ku Klux Klan who wallowed
      In terrorism, cruelty, lynching,
      While way out west their like were pinching
      The prairies from the native nations.
      I know they now have reservations,
      The land for native tribes reserved
      Being rather less than was deserved
      And which did little to restore
      The way of life that went before.
      (Whilst reservations, qua misgivings,
      May not suffice to earn forgiving.)

      They've Nixon, Bush and Al Capone -
      We may have villains of our own
      But none that truly measure up
      The length of spoon you'd need to sup
      With Thatcher, Blair or brothers Kray
      Would be far shorter. Anyway,
      This talk of supping brings to mind
      Another axe I have to grind:
      Their food, like peanut butter spread
      Inch-thick on pappy tasteless bread,
      Cheese fit for nothing but to spray on
      Burgers, bright as yellow crayon,
      While many tastebuds bear the scars
      That come from eating Hershey bars.

      Americans, don't get me wrong;
      Your nation - free and rich and strong -
      In many ways must be admired;
      I'll bet that you're still glad you fired
      Old Georgie from his role as king,
      Whilst here the wound has ceased to sting
      Two centuries past, and we're content
      Your founding fathers were so bent
      On independence. For these days
      We are so different in our ways
      (That's different from, not different than -
      As bum from butt, as tin from can)
      We won't mind if you, with a cuss,
      Decide that you're well shot of us.

      But what is silly, what is wise?
      Those traits so easy to despise -
      A tendency to talk to trees
      Or lose one's grip on colonies -
      May have served Georgie rather well;
      By bidding thirteen states farewell
      He saved us from a murky fate
      Obscure, but hard to contemplate.
      Who'd say his faculties were failin'
      In keeping us from Sarah Palin?
      This king who, lest it be be forgotten,
      Preserved our 'got' from being 'gotten'
      And saved our 'autumn' from their 'fall'
      Was not so silly after all.

      * Note:
      (I know Vermont was yet to be
      But couldn't wait for that, you see,
      And snatched it from a future time
      Because New Hampshire wouldn't rhyme)

      © First published on Ciao UK under the name torr, July 2011


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