The Joys Of A Level Playing Field

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”–Anatole France

Freedoms and rights are not delicate things
Cos inalienably, they exist—
They’re the rights of all men, whether peasants or kings
And I’m setting them down in a list.

Since rights are for all, there’s no need to be wary;
No need to be raising your voice—
And every gay man has the freedom to marry…
To marry the girl of his choice.

And freedom of worship’s another, you see,
Where concerns can be safely ignored—
Just quit your complaining, cos everyone’s free…
To praise Jesus, their savior and lord.

And poor folk oppose the inheritance tax
With a lottery win in their sights
And we’ll open the polls to Latinos and Blacks…
They can vote for their choice of two Whites.

The second amendment’s another example
Where needless debate will run hot—
The evidence shows (and the data are ample)
We all have the right to get shot.

A right, if it’s right, is for both or for neither
The same for each group we compare—
Men can’t have abortions, so women can’t either
And that’s how we know that it’s fair

Ok, clearly this is not a coherent verse; it’s really just a collection of thoughts that invaded my skull and would not leave until I wrote them down (at least, I hope they leave). Every damn one of these stupid examples is something I’ve seen argued on one or another news comment thread–“gays have the right to get married, same as I do–they are free to marry the opposite-sex partner of their choice!” or “everybody is equally free to worship Jesus, so what’s the problem?”

And the damnedest thing is, I know full well that the collection here is far from complete. And it is hugely USA-centric. And reflects the relatively narrow slice of the world that I have looked at recently, so there is a very good chance that you might think “why didn’t Cuttle write about this?”

There’s a cure for that… these are simple verses, so have fun in the comment thread!


  1. says

    When people speak of leveling the playing field, what they really mean is to angle it in favor of their preferred groups and to make others struggle uphill with weights strapped to their legs.

  2. Margaret says

    gays have the right to get married, same as I do–they are free to marry the opposite-sex partner of their choice!

    People who say that are in effect claiming that they didn’t marry for love. If they had married for love, they would instead say “gays have the right to get married, same as I do–they are free to marry the person they love!”

    Cuttlefish, I disagree that this is not a coherent verse. All your examples struck a nerve with me too. They are all examples of argumentum ad “the only freedom is the freedom to be just like me”.

  3. rikitiki says

    Here’s mine for National Poetry Month:

    Lucifer or Gabriel?

    Legend says we are but that mid-span
    ‘tween airy angels and demons below:
    Our nature wrestling itself ever so –
    A battle that’s between the base and grand.
    I’ve seen no devil from some fiery realm,
    Felt no help, no seraphed beneficence:
    Perhaps ‘tis so and I but lack the sense
    To realize such fiddling at the helm.
    Within, I feel my own duality:
    Scoundrel or saint, that label is my own –
    Perceived, I judge and measure all alone;
    Fashion belief to make reality.
    What clarion call becomes my true life’s voice
    Is, in the end, determined by my choice.

  4. permanentwiltingpoint says

    Not by me, but an adaptation from the german poet Robert Gernhardt:

    Freedom of press became a general right
    Today everyone out there is free
    Without being censored, to write
    What he thinks his publisher wants to see.

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