Land of Opportunity

Sad boy in hoody

by Gordon Klopfenstein

“Jesus Loves the little children, All the children of the world, Red and yellow, black and white, They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

When I was young in Sunday School
We used to sing that song.
They taught us we should love like He.
That causing children pain was wrong.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

When I grew up and went to school
We’d say that pledge and we’d agree
That justice was for everyone
From sea to shining sea.

“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And then in U.S. History class
We were taught of independence
That our Founding Fathers assured these Rights
To themselves and their descendants.

The things we learned when we were young
Worked for the kids we’d known.
All kids found love and happiness
We thought when we were grown.


When he was young—a welfare ward
In Christian U.S.A.
Where Justice, Love and Happiness
Were the order of the day.

The system found him hard to place.
They did the best they could??????????????
They should have let him have a home
But no one ever would.

He must have tried to love someone.
That’s what children do
But even if they loved him back,
It was just a month or two.

He bounced around from house to house.
He learned not to trust affection.
He never knew who controlled his life
So he wouldn’t take correction.

Between each house they’d send him ‘home’
But his mother couldn’t cope.
So—back he went to foster care
And he just gave up hope.

He told me once, “The very worst thing
About being a foster kid
Was that people you don’t even know
Decided what you did.”

But he learned that he had some control
From the shit they drug him through.
He could make them know he was around
By the things he wouldn’t do.

“…if you don’t get yourself to school on time, I’ll put you back in foster care or in Wood Youth Center.”

So—he was twelve and went to court.
Judge Briggs had said that line.
Justice, Love and Happiness
Had worked for him just fine.

So now I think about that kid
When I hear that pledge or song.
It’s not supposed to work that way.
What the hell went wrong?

Written by Gordon L. Klopfenstein
Owned by Michael C. Jackson