What Good Are We?


This poem is inspired by the Bob Dylan song: What Good Am I?. The song is focused on the individual and personal. The poem is focused on the social and the political. This poem is also part of my 2014 commitments: “To raise my voice for those too weak to speak on their own behalf and to challenge the cruel and greedy at every turn.”

1.3 million of our fellow citizens lost unemployment benefits on 28 December 2013. Almost 1 million veterans face the loss of nutrition assistance under bills now active in Congress. Republicans closed out 2013 hinting that they would crash the global and national economy in order to extort ideological demands from the Senate and the President. One party struggles to govern and one party struggles to damage and destroy the United States Government. One party seeks to enact policies that benefit most if not all classes of Americans. The other party seeks to make the rich ever richer.

If we the informed and the intelligent stand idly by while more than ever before, sectarian religion comes out of the home and churches and into the public square, [a place where it was never intended to be when our Founders and Framers began began to craft the United States constitution], what good are we?

What good are we if we’re like all the rest
If we just turn away, when we see the distressed
If we shut ourselves off so we don’t hear any plea
What good are we?

What good are we if we think and don’t do
If we watch but won’t say, what we know to be true
If our ears will not hear and our eyes will not see
What good are we?

What good are we while children starve and weep
And we ignore their voices crying out in their sleep
And we freeze in the moment like all those who just let it be
What good are we?

What good are we then to others and our country
If we’ve had every chance and yet still fail to see
If our hands seem to be tied must we not look within
Asking who tied them and how long has this been?

What good are we if we say heartless things
And we laugh in the face of the anguish that springs
And we just turn away while thousands needlessly die
What good are we if we won’t even try?

If anyone wants to hear Dylan’s song to get the rhythm and tone, check this http://youtu.be/bYMJZEtwVuo

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Posted in: Larry Conley, Politics, USA

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  • What an enlightening post Larry. Your poem serves as a conscience to those who live for themselves and don’t care if other people suffer. It is sad that ‘respectable’ citizens can go down so low just to satisfy their ideologies.

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    • Larry, when millions lose their food stamps, it’s sad. When our Veterans lose them, it is a grievous error. You consistently remind us of our better selves. I heard on the news today that Red Lobster is going under because the Middle Class is disappearing. What then?

      I loved your post for its redemptive message and also for using Dylan’s song. I have it on one of his CD’s called “Oh Mercy.” That’s an apt title, isn’t it?

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      • Cher,

        I have the same CD; I love it, and the title is surely apt.

        As I listened to the song for the hundredth time, I thought it could easily be adapted to have broader social implications. So I did my best.

        We need to put our efforts, our voices, our resources where our mouth indicates they are. In the midst of all the mindless rants and heartless actions, we who know and are better need to show the courage of our convictions.

        As ever and always, thanks!


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    • Baxter,

      “just to satisfy their ideologies” -- you nailed it. They rationalize their own indifference and self-aggrandizement.

      We, who know better, must not be silent or inactive in the face of this inhumanity.

      Thanks so much.

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  • Outstanding piece Larry. I love it. I wish you the best of everything this year and always. Hugs

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    • Dani,

      Thank you for the encouraging words. We who know better, must act in accordance with our convictions. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

      Thanks again,


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