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End the Wars and Clean the Ground, Free Food and Housing All Around

(or: A Great Grand Green New Deal)

Unlike housing, food, or water,
No one is entitled to a hamburger,
or bacon.
No one has the right to kill a cow,
Or pig, or chicken.

No one has the right to fly a plane,
Or drive a car, or truck.

And since this killing’s killing us
A Great Grand Green New Deal
Would ban it: meat and milk,
And eggs and lard. Yes,
You will lose your hamburgers as well
As nearly all your cars —
And, guess what, you will like it, too.
You’ll prefer it this way —
Every day a vacation from alienation
You’ll say: we should have done this
Oh so long ago. You will.

Airplane travel, that’ll be banned.
But you won’t demand a return to the days
Of needing an airplane,
Of rushing about, in debt, under stress.
That’ll all be gone.
With time to rest — the freedom
to live leisurely — you’ll see;
You will declare: I prefer the clean air.

You will and you won’t
Even care about that
Which one time made you so upset
Like logging
We will ban that too.
Those trees out there are not for you
To chop up into bags and boxes,
That only wind up thrown away
in the garbage.
And what for?

And what’s more, we’ll ban war.
Oh yes, the endless wars,
And the class war that subtends them
Don’t you know?
Having shut down the bases
The troops will come home
And help build things that people need
Where neighborhoods can grow and share
Their food and take good care
Of one another, all for free
Like one gigantic library.

What’s that I see?
Are you shaking your head?
Or maybe instead
Someone’s washing your brain
First shampoo, and then condition
That explains your disposition
Loving those abusing you, like a dog,
Or a child.

So, what should we do?
What else should be banned
By a Green New Deal
that’s Great and Grand?
Planned obsolescence, an adjunct of profit,
Will fall off like a scab
Once exploitation and rent has been banned,
Along with private property —
Don’t worry, you’ll have privacy,
Security of tenure, see,
Is part of a healthy democracy.
And nobody covets your personalty.

There’s more than enough
For all of our needs
If only we live modestly.

Clean the water, clean the ground,
Free food and housing all around.

More articles by:

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at elliot.sperber@gmail.com and on twitter @elliot_sperber

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