Election Day, 2007

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Your Humble Blogger continues the tradition of posting this, perhaps my favorite poem, on Election Day. My election is municipal, as is yours, likely enough, if you even have one. It’s not the powerfulest scene and show, the quadriennial choosing. On the other hand, there is a ballot-shower, countless snowflakes. In some ways, these off-year, odd-numbered, town council elections ought to be our powerfulest scene and show, and if they aren’t, you can do your part to make them so today. Assuming, Gentle Reader, that you are a fellow Citizen; if you are in Pakistan, for instance, I present Mr. Whitman’s ode as inspiration of a different kind.

Election Day, November, 1884, by Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, Book XXXIV: Sands at Seventy.

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
'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 Mississippi's stream:
--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 quadriennial choosing,)
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.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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