Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Enlarge the Self

I watch a lot of political talking head shows. In early February, I saw Newt Gingrich on George Stephanopoulos' Sunday show. When Newt talked of conflict between Republicans and Democrats, he had a big smile as if battle were everything to him, that he cared nothing about moving forward, that he cared everything about conflict being the greatest good. I found it shocking, discouraging, and too reminiscent of Karl Rovian politics, which I continue to hope we can evolve past. As I consider my wonderful grandchildren and think of their future and the future that can follow them, I wish for leaders more like the Founders than the buffoons who so often push themselves forward in Washington. In Obama, I think we finally have someone who calls up the genius that founded our country, preserved it, and led us to be as a city on a hill.

our grandchildren’s grandchildren

our desires can define and rule us,
and the better qualities of our natures
can so easily yield to the lesser,
for its rewards are quick and feel strong:
the extra helping, the put down, the pout,
the self-indulgence as we reduce to the infantile,

and we seem to feel higher when we push someone else down,

too often our Presidents have led us away from greatness of self
into greed as the highest virtue,
and that noble party that called for us
to pay our bills,

to free slaves and masters from slavery,

to preserve wild lands as parks,

to conserve that which is best and should endure,

that party has reduced itself to appeal only to the lesser--

to fears, to the love of money,

and it has forgotten to love and consider
our grandchildren’s grandchildren,

and when our President acts the unaware buffoon,
we can hear that that’s all we can be, too,

now we have a President awake to his better self,
and we can model that and enlarge our sense of who we are,
of how much and how many we consider
when we choose how to be and how to act,

the greatness call us
and let us do our best to answer.

by Henry Walker
February 15, ‘09

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