This is What You Shall Do


I try to keep politics off these pages but, increasingly, I feel as if I live in an alternate reality.
The daily news confounds me.
Disavowing science and banning its words.
Ignoring clear and present dangers while creating divisions between us at home.
Setting our history back decades – maybe more.
Have we forever lost sight of who we are and the compass that guides us to common ground?

Words for our times from some time ago:

“Other states indicate themselves in their deputies … but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors … but always most in the common people. Their manners, speech, dress, friendship…their good temper and open handedness—the terrible significance of their elections—the President’s taking off his hat to them, not they to him…

This is what you shall do;
Love the earth and sun and the animals,

despise riches, give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families,

read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

― Walt Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass

16 comments

  1. Murphy's Law

    Wow! Powerful. We all seem to be drowning in politics whether we like it or not. Our world has become very ugly. It’s difficult to feel safe and secure any more. Like you, I hope we all see our way through. —-Ginger—-

  2. Corie Turner

    Well said! We have slipped into times that will go down in our history books as a dark and turbulent era. Standing up for our earth, creatures, and all people is so important. Pressure on our representatives and signing petitions…never stop.

  3. Cindy Towne

    Sometimes I feel as if I’m alone in how I feel but your words have reminded me I have more company than I realized. I fear most for my grandchildren.

  4. I wholeheartedly concur. There are days when I just cannot stand to watch one more second of the news. It sickens me. I sometimes wish the spirit of FDR would come and do to 45 and his buddies in Congress what Dickens’ Christmas ghosts did to Scrooge.

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