Monday, November 7, 2016

#Poetry explains democracy!

Early tomorrow I'll park at my local polling place, sign the register, get my ballot and fill in some ovals. The whole time I'll be seething at the failure of American democracy to live up to its promises.
  • The two party system has given us a choice of a least worst alternative. It has also thwarted the ability of third parties to offer viable alternatives and has "rigged" the system so my preferred candidate was not nominated.

  • The executive branch has allowed a creepy, self-righteous clown to disrupt the campaign of one candidate and put his inept, ham-handed thumb on the scale. (No, I will not give him the benefit of the doubt.)

  • The news media has been even more timid (or self-serving) than Democrats at speaking truth to the power of the electorate.

  • No major candidates run on what they want to accomplish, but on the horrors their opponent would heap on poor innocents. Can anyone even create a positive political ad anymore?
None of these, nor any other of the shortcomings of this election, and there are many, are really the point. I've been fretting and fussing and grumbling until I remembered what this, and every, election is all about. Gary Snyder has explained it to us in the simple words and exquisite thoughts in this poem. Each of us should be required to read this before entering a voting booth. It should be posted on the door of every polling place. It is why we settle our differences with votes instead of bullets.

have you learned these flowers?
have you learned these flowers?
Photo by J. Harrington

For the Children

by Gary Snyder
The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

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