From the Play Les Miserables
Do you hear the people sing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
Here is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!
Walt Whitman’s Song to Myself
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.
I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse and
Stuff’d with the stuff that is fine,
One of the Nation of many nations,
The smallest the same and the largest the same,
A Southerner soon as a Northerner,
A planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,
A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade,
My joints the limberest joints on earth
And the sternest joints on earth,
A novice beginning yet experient of myriads of seasons,
Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion,
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker,
Prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.
I resist any thing better than my own diversity,
Breathe the air but leave plenty after me,
And am not stuck up, and am in my place.
Through me many long dumb voices,
Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves,
Voices of the diseas’d and despairing and of thieves and dwarfs,
Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,
And of the threads that connect the stars,
And of wombs and of the father-stuff,
And of the rights of them the others are down upon,
Of the deform’d, trivial, flat, foolish, despised,
Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.
From Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
When I was young I wrote a poem feebly trying to express the notion that I felt inside of my nascent soul the seeds of every other human being on the Planet. Unbeknown to me, Walt Whitman, and I am sure many other writers, had already expressed the idea much better than I could ever do. So, the events transpiring in the Middle East and the Middle West, or the Midwest, our heartland, have touched me profoundly and filled me with hope.
Perhaps you also have gotten misty-eyed watching Egyptians and Cheese heads stand “beyond the barricades” for their inalienable right to be free to voice their opinions and oppose what they view as an abuse of power. They have defied powerful men who have institutionalized themselves in political and economic control. Are we, Americans as a country, as well disposed to do the same “in order to form a more perfect union” and continue our experiment in Democracy?
It is always the same story: powerful economic elites impose their will over WE THE PEOPLE. In Wisconsin, teachers are being asked to make sacrifices while other groups of people are left untouched, most notably, those who hide behind Corporations and powerful and narrow-interests groups that get tax shelters and even “Corporate Welfare,” aka, Fascism.
Immersed as I am in the Health Care “industry,” I see an acute need for us to also stand against similar political and economic forces that have dominated the practice of medicine in our country. While we have not taken to the streets (yet,) I wonder how much longer we will put up with the blatant practices that perpetuate a “Disease Care System” in the name of profits and Corporatism. Industries like Big Pharma, Big Food, and Insurance companies get practically everything they wish for, while WE THE PEOPLE are left to fight over scraps, all the while, the powerful grease the palms of legislators in order to maintain money flowing in their direction.
But, under-the-table dealings in “Health Care” are merely a reflection of what goes on in every field of endeavor in the USA. Washington, Lincoln and Eisenhower warned us that moneyed elitist (i.e. the Pentagon, Big Oil, International Corporations,) would always collude to squeeze as much blood out of WE THE PEOPLE, while protected by politicians who “revolve” to work for them. While in office “our” representatives seem more interested in passing regulations and creating middle offices to smoke the field with regulations that perpetuate the “Corporate Welfare” State that oppresses us.
Both parties have contributed to this Fascist approach, while hiding behind extreme ideologies that, while valid, are meant to bring us to a middle ground that serves WE THE PEOPLE, not their egos or narrow self-interests. Perhaps we need a true Democracy, such as what Egyptians envision, not a Republic, such as we have in the USA; the latter allows our representatives to be tempted by money and thereby represent the elitist, not WE THE PEOPLE. This little problem is bound to get worse since the Supreme Court determined that Corporations may now contribute liberally to the candidates that will promote their agenda best.
Egyptians will soon realize that the exercise of Democracy requires constant vigilance to keep the elitists from hijacking their government. Cheese heads know this all too well. The rest of the country will watch them and root for them on CNN. I hope that doing so will strengthen our resolve to maintain the freedoms our forefathers have worked so hard to bequeath to us.