Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oath of Office



In honor of the 44th President of the United States, and the difficulty in getting the Oath of Office administered, I'm reprising this from another blog of mine.

Note that this was written more for PotUS #43.

Audio

Stick your left hand on the book
And the right one in the air,
Then assume a sober look
And say "I do solemnly swear
That I will faithfully execute
The office of President
Of the U.S. and its possessions to boot.
(Heck, you know what I meant.)
I will, to my ability's best,
Preserve, protect and defend
The Constitution of the U.S.
(As long as it serves my end.)"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today, January 20, 2009

For today, more than almost any other day I can think of, I have struggled to create a rhyme suitable to the occasion. But everything I've come up with has been trivial and insignificant in comparison to the moment.

Because today, more than most in history, signals the triumph of an idea. We sometimes think of history as a succession of great people, geopolitical forces, and natural events. But it is ideas that drive the great people, and ideas that stir the geopolitical forces. Even natural events become significant because of the ideas they engender. Truly, ideas are the engine of history.

Yet rarely can we point to such a clear milestone and say "This idea is coming to fruition."

It's been a long and terrible struggle. It gestated during the centuries when Africans were dragged from their homes, packed into ships, and, if they were lucky, brought to the new world to be sold as property. It developed when the United States went to war with itself over the question of whether prosperity should be sacrificed for the cause of freedom.

And this idea began its painful delivery with the marches, the demonstrations, the speeches, the sacrifices, the lynchings, the bombings, and the thousand skirmishes that showed, above all, that this idea was coming no matter what.

Today is not the end of the struggle. There is still much hard work to be done. The message will have to be delivered again and again, all over the country and around the world. People will resist, backslide, and forget.

But today, at least, we can celebrate how far we've come.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Theater

Audio

It seems to be a human trait
That we should act things out.
Some tales demand we imitate
How events came about.

For elders who did want to reach
Their young with cultural training,
The theater was way to teach,
While being entertaining.

We also found that ritual
Could make us feel correct.
The powers-that-be habitual-
ly demanded respect.

We added music, speech and dance
To help these rites evolve
To spectacles that could entrance
As well as problem-solve.

Early Egyptian dramas speak
Of Osiris and Horus.
While Thespis, the first actor Greek,
Mixed dialog with chorus.

In every corner of the globe,
There's some theater tradition.
It offers us a way to probe
Our own human condition.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ideas of 2008

Audio

We bid farewell to two thousand and eight,
A year with many ideas, dumb and great.
One dominant idea was that of change
Though no one knew quite what to rearrange.
Before two thousand seven's ball had dropped
We all wished the campaigning could be stopped.
The candidates, with handshakes and with kissing,
Distracted us from ideas that went missing.
And when you thought things couldn't get much dumber,
The GOP lined up behind a plumber.
Some people even blamed McCain and Palin
For gasoline above 4 bucks a gallon.
But then, despite credulity it strains,
We elected a president with brains.
The choice of White House dog remains a drama --
Not any mutt can serve as Bark Obama.
And 30 Rock is good for Tina Fey,
Who couldn't play Joe Biden anyway.

Then China staged an awesome ceremony.
(We hope the actual games were not so phony.)
Medvedev, who took over from Vlad Putin,
Led Russia against Georgia, with much shootin'.

A disappointing year, we must confide,
For those who had large hadrons to collide.
Just like the future of which some have spoken,
Machines will rule the world, but they'll be broken.

Ignoring every taxpayer who hollers,
We coughed up seven hundred billion dollars
So all the financiers whose banks had failed
Could by the U.S. government get bailed.
It's not like throwing money on the fire --
Their chief execs will use this to retire.
Then auto makers, just to hedge their bets
Flew in to beg for money on their jets.
Though Congress thought that bailout was worth blocking,
Bush promised to put something in their stocking.
So if this year on Wall Street had a theme,
It's typefied by Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

And Rod Blagojevich’s yuletide treat
Was auctioning Obama’s senate seat.
That’s quite unlike New York’s appointment game,
Won by the one with the most famous name.

And thus passes the century's eighth year,
Like most, a mix of gloominess and cheer.
One thing is certain in the year to come:
There'll be no lack of ideas great and dumb.