Some Quick Quaker Responses to the SOTU

To respond to the State of the Union address, we’ve invited two special Friendly commentators, who are joining us via our new astral projection uplink. 

First up is our old buddy, Walter Whitman, late of Camden, New Jersey, where he settled once they named a big bridge there after him. Whitman is known as the author of the best-selling pro-marijuana polemic of all time, Leaves of Grass.

Walt — if you don’t mind me calling you that — you’ve hovered over a lot of these talkfests. So tell us: what was your reaction to what you heard tonight?

Whitman: Why sure, Chuck. I even scribbled a few notes; let me check my pockets. Yeah, here they are:

Walt Whitman’s Caution.

TO The States, or any one of them, or any city of
The States,
Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty. . . .

Supporters of DACA hold signs in support of DACA, and the rights of undocumented persons at Colorado State University during a rally in the Plaza on Monday. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian) My Alma Mater!

To a Certain Cantatrice, a female opera singer

HERE, take this gift!
I was reserving it for some hero, speaker, or General,

One who should serve the good old cause, the great
Idea, the progress and freedom of the race;
Some brave confronter of despots—some daring rebel;
—But I see that what I was reserving, belongs to you
just as much as to any.

Oh, and one more thing:

When liberty goes out of a place, it is not the first to
go, nor the second or third to go,
It waits for all the rest to go—it is the last.

When there are no more memories of heroes and
And when all life, and all the souls of men and women
are discharged from any part of the earth,
Then only shall liberty, or the idea of liberty, be dis-
charged from that part of the earth,
And the infidel come into full possession.

So that’s about it, Chuck: Meet the New Boss; Worse than the Old Boss. (But maybe I borrowed that from somebody; can’t remember Who.)

Chuck: Well thank you, Walt, always good to have you on the show.

Our next analyst is James Richardson, Jr., a Unitarian minister from Brooklyn, New York. Jim, and a fast friend of Progressive Friends. I understand you also wrote something about the SOTU — you guys sure work fast. 

Richardson: Why yes, Chuck, I admit I started on it a few days ago, because there was so much material. And that was a good thing, because it came thick and fast tonight. But there was really nothing new in it.  I even put a retro sort-of title to it, tried to sum it up:

The Tyrant’s Ancient Argument: Or, The Dangers of Thought

Cease your thinking, O ye people! shouts the Tyrant, fierce and loud. 
As, with scornful eye, he glances o’er the slowly moving crowd;

Ye were made for toil and labor — mark your hard and brawny hand!
We are God’s appointed Rulers, to obey is his command!

Cease your thinking, lest ye fancy ye can rule yourselves by thought,

And the world’s fair peace and order be to swift destruction brought;
Lest, seduced by idle dreams, ye may fondly think there be
Minds and souls in those rough bodies, and we’re men as well as he.

Cease your thinking, chimes the Rich man, else you’ll soon uneasy grow,
Feeling you must have whatever we your lords and betters do;
I am rich and sleek and happy, my condition’s well enough;
every change my peace endangers, and your grievance is but stuff:

For it makes you fierce and restless, fills your lives with discontent,
Loses present joys in grasping what for you was never meant. . . .
Claiming that mankind are equal, that the bondman should be free,

That the vile, degraded masses all should educated be;
Claiming that the humble labor of the low degraded thrall
Is too worthy, is too noble, to depend on capital.

Cease your thinking, shrieks the Bigot, there’s your Bible, and the creed
To interpret what it tells you, so that all may be agreed;

So that no one thro’ his thinking, daring to dissent from these,
Might blasphemously endanger his salvation and his peace.

Carnal reason’s use is sinful; ‘tis a blind deceitful guide;

I have wondered why ‘twas given us — Satan’s lure is Reason’s pride!
God ordained you Falwell-Graham, who should safely think for you;
Tell you what you must believe in, what you may and may not do.

Chuck: Well, thank you Jim. I guess you’ve shown us again that a man’s Best Friend is His Dog-gerel. (It’s a woman’s Best Friend too, I think.)
Oops — there goes our astral projection uplink, and the password is lost again somewhere in the Akashic records. So I better go look for it. And that’s all from here. Cheer up, folks, there’s no more than seven more of these SOTU’s to get through, max . . .


5 thoughts on “Some Quick Quaker Responses to the SOTU”

  1. You’ve outdone yourself this time, brother. Just when despair was beginning to set in, your wit and wisdom (along with the sage sources you tap into) give me a way to move forward. Thank you!

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