Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the category “Politics”

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O Canada!

Worth a listen.

“You have no idea how baffled we are by what you have elected.”

“Well, Good Lord, if he can’t get along with Canada, he can’t get along with anyone.”

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

Our Inner Soul

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
H.L. Mencken

Sketch 9: The Unbroken Circle (’76)

Our poem this month, The Unbroken Circle (’76), describes an experience I had during the Bicentennial year. It was late June, and we  were on our way to Yellowstone National Park and had arrived in the city of Cody in the state of Wyoming, a place not known so much for its progressive ideas as for its conservativeness. I mean the last time they voted for a Democrat for president was 1964.  I’m not a big fan of the Democrats or anything although they did have the only candidate in my lifetime on a major ticket I’d have unconditionally supported (George McGovern), who as fate would have it went down to unbelievable electoral defeat, and Tricky Dick was reelected:

Richard_Nixon_greeted_by_children_during_campaign_1972

It’s just the Republicans have gone so far right they’re well off the page and into the margins.

Anyway, we were picked up by a guy who I swear bore an uncanny resemblance to:

436px-John_Wilkes_Booth-portrait

He told us of a concert and invited us to a party in the middle of nowhere where we were surrounded by young people whose appearance cast serious doubt on the notion they had campaigned four year earlier for Dick Nixon.  My problem at first was simple: how to open up a can of Coors.  Before you’re too hard on me, consider Wikipedia’s entry on the contraption:

“In the 1970s, Coors invented the pollution-free push tab can. However, consumers disliked the top and it was discontinued soon afterward.”

It sounds to me like a noble but doomed experiment – a little like introducing the metric system in the U.S.

For a few hours we soaked in the sun and the wide expanse of space. Then we went to see The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

We had a great time. The music was inspiring, and their encore was a stirring rendition of this song:

The Political Compass

Here’s a test you might be interested in taking.  And there’s no pass or fail!

Here are my results:

pcgraphpng.php

Corporations

Corporations
The highest court
in the land
proclaims them
individuals

not of flesh and blood
who bleed when cut

easily able
to pay off
billions
for frauds
exercised.

Thanks to Howard Johnson whose post inspired this poem.
For only the latest in corporate behavior, read this.

Sketch 6: The Hatchet

For readers in the U.S., the poem should be self-explanatory.  For others are who aren’t familiar with the story, have a look here.

Do they still have portraits of George Washington in elementary school classrooms?  They did when I was young.

us_presidents_guides_gw

Willy Brandt

A quarter of a century ago I spent time in Munich studying German and during my time there I was fortunate to see Willy Brandt speak on two occasions.  The first was in a smoky beer hall where mugs were raised in cheers to him.  The second was in Marienplatz where he spoke of the need for tolerance.

Here’s a poem I wrote about the second occasion:

Willy Brandt

With what force were words delivered
and with what fervor brought our hands to clap.

A man standing with dignity
echoing out
into the early evening truths.

Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously

I first read of Noam Chomsky in my Introduction to Linguistics class in connection with his “colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”   It is a semantically meaningless sentence that is nevertheless syntactically correct.

My professors, anthropological linguists with interests decidedly different from Chomksy’s, always spoke in awe of the man’s revolutionary contributions to the field.

What I read of his was never easy.  There was a lot I didn’t understand.  Although I was aware at the time of his political writings, assuming they would be written in a similar manner, I decided against even trying.

I could not have been more wrong.  When I began to read him, I found him remarkably approachable.

For those interested, here is his website:

http://www.chomsky.info/

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