A year after supporters of ex-U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol Building, a young poet reflects on the American dream or nightmare.

An American dream Or nightmare

A police officer stands on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before a prayer vigil marking the one-year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, in Washington, DC, USA, 6 January 2022. (EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

Citadel of American Democracy

So let’s preach the success story
Of, if you studied hard
Played by the rules
And treated people equally
You will make it in America.
So let’s preach
That you too, shall rise to fame
That you too, will bleed gold in the corridors of Wall Street
That you too, shall wear a purple heart
That you too, shall defend democracies in worn out nations
From unruly men and their barbed thoughts
That you too, shall bask in the sacredness of the citadel
Citadel of American democracy
Sitting at a solemn precipice
Of ‘for the people’ and ‘by the people’
What shall we preach now?
An American dream
Or cures from its nightmares!

Three questions to consider:

  1. What is the “success story” that the author mentions in the first line?
  2. What “nightmare” is the author referring to?
  3. How would you describe the author’s tone?

Urvashi Bundel is the author of Unapologetically Feminist, a feminist anthology published in March 2022 that explores themes like refugees and women's rights. She is a humanitarian who has worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Office for Project Services. She holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, and academic recognitions from Leiden University and Melbourne Law School.

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WorldAmericasAn American dream? Or nightmare?
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