What He Said

Increasingly, I feel the same about politics & in particular about one politician as Jonathan Mayhew:
I've figured out why I don't like Hillary. She is a Republican. That Commander-in-chief remark did it for me, because that particular synechdoche is a purely Republican trope. You see, the constitution makes the president the commander in chief of the armed forces, not of the nation. The president is not commander and chief of you or me or any else NOT in the military. The Republican trope is to make one presidential duty represent the whole, as though the president gained more authority from being military. But the Constitution does not set up a military dictatorship; just the opposite. It's as though you went around calling Cheney "the president of the Senate." That's just one particular responsibility. Furthermore, the point is not to put the most military person possible in that position, but to have CIVILIAN CONTROL OF THE MILITARY. If she's saying that McCain will be a better CIC than Obama, then McCain can always out-military her, out Republican her. A Republican in name only, like McCain supposedly is (another lie, by the way), will be able to beat an aspiring Republican in all but name. All he has to do is establish differences; she has to prove that she's virtually the same as him, if she sticks to Republican tropes. I hate politics, by the way. And this is a good example of why. This is why I never blog about politics, because I hate it. It's not that I think it's unimportant, I just hate politics' guts. If politics were a person, I wouldn't be able to stay in the same room with him or her.
Sorry, Jonathan, about stealing your whole post. I mostly stopped putting anything here about politics over a year ago because I found myself becoming angry & hysterical way too often. Such responses are not good for the soul, to say nothing of the body. I have found, though, in a few recent poems I've written, that political content has a way of peeking out through the cracks in the syntax. (Poems, of course, are the opposite of blog posts.) Anyway, I've been trying to figure out how to let the political -- not party politics, not local polemic, but awareness of who wields power -- into my writing lately. I think this project is particularly hard for American poets, who have mostly been told that the political and the aesthetic don't mix.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

3 thoughts on “What He Said”

  1. NUTS

    THERE’S A SAYING: “a royal memory”
    –meaning to remember only the sunny days.

    Ahead of us is where should becomes ought.
    Floor brown, wall green, roof soft blue.

    Don’t let it be said they’ll have to bury you
    upside down to give your other end a rest.

    Believe/resist/survive: rotors pellucid, supple.


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