I'm unsure how I feel about the Democratic candidates. I like that Hillary Clinton has laid out a point of view—my wife tells me—on women's rights and issues, and she seems for some odd reason to be in favor of them. I'll have to ask my wife more about that. My Guy, Eugene Debbs, dropped out of the race a while ago. I thought Harken would have been great, if a bit too far to the right for my taste. Most of the Democrats running today seem to me to be politically difficult to distinguish from Rockefeller Republicans in the sixties. I find that sad.
Politics has moved so far to the right that mildly right wing politics of forty years ago now is considered to be extremely left wing, and the word liberal, which is the same word as the "liberal" in the classical Liberal Education, meaning widely and deeply grounded in the full range of arts and sciences and trained to look at the world from as full a variety of viewpoints as available, has now become virtually a a profanity. The meaning of "liberal" has not changed, you know. The fact that the Democrats have mostly surrendered the use of that honorable word is a terrible criticism of the Democratic Party. Of all of us who are Democrats.
"Liberal" signifies a committment to openness of mind, to looking at the other person's perspective, to acknowledgement of honest error and to a willingness to learn from it. It means a committment to religion and arts and sciences, all of them; and as strong a committment as possible; it's about balance, so a committment to science alone or to art alone or religion alone would leave a person unbalanced. "Progressive" is about politics, mostly left wing politics. As a "liberal," I'm free to admire the conservative values I actually find admirable on their own, and to push for them. As a progressive, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. I suppose I must refuse to become one.
I have had to ask myself about the current Republican crew and what it is about these Liberal values that they find so contemptable. I don't ask that people on the Right share Left wing values. There are valid differences, but suggesting the very word "Liberal" is so hideous that we must be protected from knowledge of its very existence suggests more revealing things about these self-appointed protectors of public decency than it does about those who would stand up for liberal values.
It suggests that these protectors of public values seek to protect us from having a broad education in the arts sciences and religion. That being able to understand and sympathize with the point of view of the other is somehow toxic to having your own. That being able to think clearly and to be able to use your thoughts to express yourself in your civic and personal life is not as important as letting others do your thinking for you. That you need to let others tell you what to do in the realm of civic affairs and control access to the ionformation you need to make informed decisions. I could go on, but I won't.
Did Hillary Clinton make a comment about poetry and prose in her campaign. I wish I knew. I thank Balladeer for his attempts to clarify this. What does Hillary Clinton mean by this? I don't know that, either, but I'm a bit puzzled about the importance of the question? Does this have something to do with Senator Clinton's ability to govern? If it does, then we ought to have a discussion on her ability to govern and the potential difficulties there. There may be some. She's not the most politically attractive candidate to my mind in the running right now, but why the concern about campaigning in poetry and governing in prose? It seems fairly straightforward to me.
An indirect analogy is being drawn to courting behavior. The more filled out version of the analogy would read, IN THE SAME FASHION that during courting one uses the giving of candy, and flowers, and the recitation of poetry to woo one's beloved to one's affections, BUT AFTER those affections have been won and a marriage has been secured, the daily life of the marriage is not filled with these things but more their memory, and is filled instead with the daily business of living a life together and building a relationship; YES, IN THAT VERY SAME FASHION, a candidate woos and wins the beloved electorate with poetic rhetoric, with rhetorical candy and rhetorical Flowers (fill in your Genifer Flowers jokes here, should you wish to do so), and should the suite of that candidate be successful, that candidate will govern in the relationship with his beloved in the same quotidian fashion that the romance of lovers is effected (though on a more ambiguous playing field of power relationships) through the everyday events and with a minimum of Flowers, and Candy, and only an occasional poem, thus, mostly, alas!, in prose. That is, I believe, the filled out version of what the much better and more poetically said
aphorism was meant to indicate. Aphorisms, being distilled, are meant to convey a lot in a short space, but I think I made a pretty fair translation.
Perhaps any of you other poetsout there speak better poetry talk than I do and would like a shot at translating the aphrorism that has been so difficult here. Perhaps I haven't gotten it quite right. And you know, many translations have fascinating variations.