This poem came out of the September 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by janetmiles.
Also, understand your rights and responsibilities. Regarding box #1, see the first amendment. Regarding box #2, register to vote and beware of voter suppression. Regarding box #3, support the fully informed jury. Regarding box #4, see the second amendment. People lie about this stuff; don't let them get away with it.
Civilization is made of law and order,
not just laws and orders.
It is each citizen's responsibility
to use their rights wisely;
to respect others and not diminish them;
to prioritize needs, virtues, and ideals;
to begin with the most rational and civil options
for solving problems and then move down the list if necessary.
This is the list.
If something seems wrong,
first use the soap box.
Evil flourishes when good remains silent
in the face of wicked deeds.
Dare to speak your truth.
If the leaders are doing wrong,
then use the ballot box.
Vote for the ones who will do the most good,
or failing that, the ones who will do the least harm.
If the laws are wrong,
then use the jury box.
Refuse to enforce unjust laws,
and insist on justice whether it is popular or not.
If all else fails,
then use the ammunition box.
Sometimes the people must take
what rights their oppressors will not give willingly.
Freedom comes in these four boxes --
soap, ballot, jury, and ammunition --
to be opened in that order
and it isn't meant to stay sealed in any of them forever.