On the Fourth of July, I raised the flag,
As I spoke with love and pride:
“I’m blessed to be an American,” I said,
To two friends who stood by my side.
One was my neighbor, who lives next door,
He’s a citizen, like me.
The other, a visitor from a hard, oppressed land,
Far across the sea.
“My flag stays in its box this year,”
Said my neighbor, boiling mad.
“The terrible shape this country’s in,
The future looks nothing but bad.
“Taxes, scandal, indifference and crime,
On our land like a giant stain.”
My visitor said, “We have all that, and worse,
But it’s against the law to complain.”
My neighbor looked startled, but not subdued;
Then he started in on the Press:
“There’s nothing but bad news; the headlines are bleak.”
(It gets me down, too, I confess.)
“Our news is all good,” said my visitor.
“It’s just how you’d like to be.
We know what our government wants us to know;
Our press is controlled, you see.”
My neighbor spun ’round and marched toward his house,
And here is the end to my story:
The next time we saw him, he was out in his yard,
Proudly raising Old Glory.
By Joanna Fuchs