When Rebecca sent me this earlier today, I felt a slight chill and a strong awareness of the connection between it and my post yesterday. While it is true that Trump lost the popular vote four years ago, if he wins again, I fear that it will really be true that this country is getting the government it deserves.
We know who he is
by Rebecca Crichton, Seattle, Washington
For many years, a somewhat mysterious man named Joe Riley posted a daily poem and photo to a large Yahoo list. The poems were accessible, often by writers known to many: Mary Oliver, Rilke, Rumi, William Stafford. The photos were usually of nature: color-drenched sunsets and sunrises, full-bore storms and seascapes, the occasional animal and, as I recall, almost no people.
Earlier this year, Joe stopped posting. People on the list began to worry. They tried to write him, but the notes meant for Joe went to everyone. Chaos ensued. Finally, an intrepid woman named Anne Stokes Hochberg took over the list and the daily posting. Things have calmed down and we have even learned more about Joe. We know he is well and doing his own creative work. He gave brilliantly for years, and earned the right to step back.
This week, Anne decided to repost what Joe wrote four years ago, before Trump was elected. It is even more poignant and meaningful now than it was then. Here it is:
I try to avoid politics but today is an exception because, to borrow a phrase, I can do no other.
I grew up in a time when the United State of America was, as the phrase goes, a beacon of hope for much of the world. No country is ever perfect but our strength was striving to make a better world. That vision is under attack and has already corrupted our political system in ways that were unimaginable not so long ago. The question before us a month from now is, if this is what we have become or if we will try to learn and keep faith with our values.
To borrow another phrase, this time from Dune, “Fear is the mind killer”
and the campaign of Donald Trump is an example of fear’s power.
But the unavoidable is, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.
by William Stafford
A piccolo played then a drum.
Feet began to come a part
of the music. Here came a horse,
clippety clop, away.
My mother said, “Don’t run —
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you’ll learn our enemy.”
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother’s face,
its quiet. “That’s him,” she said.
We know now who it is, and we know now what he has done and will continue to do. Vote!