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Archive for April 21st, 2012

I was browsing through my journal (again), looking for more things to post about and I stumbled across some lyrics I’ve already posted and some poems I barely remembered, but which struck me (again).
The song lyrics are to the song: “It Ain’t Me, Babe“, written and performed by Bob Dylan.  Some break ups are harder than others.  Sometimes the person just doesn’t really meet your needs (or expectations).  Sometimes you just don’t really meet theirs.  It seems to me when I read through the lyrics they brought back memories: sometimes I’m the singer, and sometimes, I’m the listener.  Check out the lyrics, then go listen to Bob Dylan.  Play a game with yourself and ask: “Which was I the last time my relationship ended?”
The first poem is titled: “The Fool’s Prayer“, and was written by Edward Rowland Sill.  I guess at one time this was a very popular poem in America.  I remembered it as soon as I stumbled upon it, but I don’t think I’ve seen it or heard it read anywhere in the last 30-40 years.  So, I was surprised to find it being read on YouTube.  I guess you can pretty much find anything there now.  Without spoiling the ending too much, if the King is truly a fool (or at least the fool in question), why does he know to go pray?
The second poem is a quickie about manners and being polite more than anything else.  Titled “Our Lips And Ears“, and anonymously written, it’s included as a throw-in —  just ’cause I like it…
The final entry is another poem titled: “Stanzas On Freedom“, written by James Russell Lowell.  We (Americans) live in a Federal Republic.  That has a specific meaning which is quite different from a “democracy”.   Having said that, I believe it is perfectly acceptable to disagree with each others policies and positions, but we should rarely (if ever) questions the other side’s patriotism.   The last bit of the poem says:
They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.”
The poem was about the abolition of slavery in America.  It asks: can anyone claim to be free if any among us are slaves?  I would ask the same thing about education, health care, living wages and other civil rights (voting, marriage, whatever)…  Is our society “free” when the only rights we seem to have are the right to ignorance, poverty, illness and lack of opportunity?  I respect the patriotism and religious fervor of those who disagree with me, but I will not shrink from defending those less able to defend themselves in the marketplace of ideas.  Even if all I have are words,  I will be free to speak out.
Some time you will be in the majority and some time you will be in the minority.  Elections have consequences!  Neither side should be intimidated by force or other coercion to withdraw their beliefs.  Both sides should be encouraged to simply (or not so simply) develop better arguments to support their views and to sway additional voters for the next election.  That is what the free marketplace of ideas is all about – in a democracy or in a Federal Republic.
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I live for those who love me,
For those who know me true,
For heaven that smiles above me,
And waits my spirit too;
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
And the good that I can do.
  —   Written by: George Linnaeus Banks
(for the full poem: click here)
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