Studs Turkel died at 96 recently. Larry Galizio – http://www.blueoregon.com/— is quoted in the Globe today saying: “It is perhaps ironic that we lost Studs when a faux-populist figure such as “Joe-the Plumber” is cynically trotted out to represent the salt-of-the-earth America. For Studs Terkel’s work was largely about interviewing ‘average people’ and mining their extraordinary experiences during times of great triumph and tragedy.”
Very well said.
On the same page in the Globe is an article entitled “A poem for Election Day” written by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky. Most of the article is Walt Whitman’s poem Election Day, November 1884. Whitman makes the point that to him the election process is America’s most powerful and spectacular show — greater than all our natural wonders.
Here is the poem:
A Poem for Election Day
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and
‘Twould not be you, Niagara–nor you, ye limitless prairies–nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite–nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones–nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes–nor
–This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name–the still
small voice vibrating–America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen–the act itself the main, the
The stretch of North and South arous’d–sea-board and inland–
Texas to Maine–the Prairie States–Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West–the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling–(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity–welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
–Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify–while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.
Turkel and Whitman typify what makes us American. But so do Donald Trump and J.P. Morgan.
Today we get to choose between two extremes, I think. Some say the two are much closer than that. But in this election I think not. I think we are really getting a choice. Our nation needs to recapture the soul that Whitman and Turkel reflected so well. I hope and pray that we do.
Vote, vote, vote!!! Be part of our most spectacular show!