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Two Hangmen by Mason Proffit

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Free Speech?

In Mason Proffit's "Two Hangmen", Proffit shows the true hypocrisy of the United States government. Throughout the entire poem there are hints that show how the government does not truly allow our right to free speech. Although members of the government wrote the constitution many years ago, they have never actually allowed this part of the first amendment to be truly expressed. Whether it is the massacre at Kent State University or Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement, the government always seems to prevent American citizen's right to free speech.

The first hangman in "Two hangmen" was a government official who "... [had] seen loopholes from working with his rope, / He'd hung the wrong man many times, so now he turned to hope." His position with the government required him to do some things that he thought were wrong, and when he spoke his mind, he had to pay the consequence. The townspeople had seen the power of the government and they would not listen to the hangman

He'd talk to all the people from his scaffold in the square,

He told them of the things he'd found, but they didn't seem to care.

He said the laws were obsolete, a change they should demand,

But the people only walked away, he couldn't understand.

The citizens knew that if they stood up against the government they would have to suffer like they had seen so many before.

The government doesn't like anyone to stand up for something that they do not believe is the right way. It also seems that they always find a way to stop the people who try to speak against them: "The Marshall's name was Uncle Sam, he said he'd right this


wrong, / He'd make the hangmen shut his mouth if it took him all year long." They were afraid that the townspeople would start to believe in what the hangman was saying.

Even though most of the people just ignored the hangman, the government decided that they needed to take care of him so "They sentenced him to die so his seed of thought can't spread, / And infect the little children, that's what the law had said." One of the best ways to get your thoughts and ideas out to the public is to have other people on your side. When the second hangman starts to believe the first's ones words, he decides to do something

I pulled the lever but before he fell I cut him loose.

They called it all conspiracy and then I had to die,

So to close our mouths and kill our minds they hung us side by side.

The government



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