The Poet, the President, and the People

john adams

Almost to the man, the Founding Fathers of this careening experiment we call the United States of America feared the eventual appearance of a demagogue. George Washington warned us about him. Alexander Hamilton warned us about him. John Adams warned us about him.

Only John Adams went one better. He saw that a demagogue without the support of the people is like a writer without the support of any readers. Without a populace that is smitten with the need for a father figure making every decision for them — even if these decisions benefit the father figure and not the children — a leader cannot rule.

In this sense, the poet Charles Bukowski and the second president share something in common. As evidence, I give you Bukowski’s poem “Democracy,” which, if ever a word needed air quotes, needs it now in this age of minority rule and minority rulers passing legislation to ensure it continues to rule.

Let’s give C.B. a listen, then:

 

Democracy
Charles Bukowski

the problem, of course, isn’t the Democratic System,
it’s the
living parts which make up the Democratic System.
the next person you pass on the street,
multiply
him or
her by
3 or 4 or 40 million
and you will know
immediately
why things remain non-functional
for most of
us.

I wish I had a cure for the chess pieces
we call Humanity…

we’ve undergone any number of political
cures

and we all remain
foolish enough to hope
that the one on the way
NOW
will cure almost
everything.

fellow citizens,
the problem never was the Democratic
System, the problem is

you.

 

Oh, man. Nothing like the mirror. People love to look at themselves yet hate to consider themselves. We live instead in an age of pointing fingers, no mirrors needed.

Charles, I forgive you the one-word, one-line envoi. And “you” who is you and me, stop chanting and think about it.

Advertisements

One thought on “The Poet, the President, and the People

  1. carter7878

    Another lame poem from Buk. When he assumes the role of preacher, his prosaic tendencies really take over. Awful, trite and predictable.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s