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