Monday, November 3, 2008

Blog the Vote

A Poetry & Prose Post on the Monday Before Election Day

Collen Mondor of Chasing Ray has a master list of the Blog the Vote posts here.

My Blog the Vote Post
I’ve made a few online donations to the presidential candidate that I’m voting for tomorrow. It’s the first time in my life that I have ever done it. The only other time I’ve felt a presidential election was of such import was in 1972 when George McGovern ran against the incumbent Richard Nixon. That November, I stood outside the polling place with my McGovern sign. Needless to say, my candidate lost the national election. My state, Massachusetts, was the only state to “go” for McGovern. Later, after the Watergate scandal broke, people could be seen driving around my state with bumper stickers on their cars that read: Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts.

Both my husband and I know that even if we don’t vote tomorrow, Obama will win by a comfortable margin here in Massachusetts. Still, we are eager to cast our votes. My husband even delayed an important business trip so he could participate in this historic election.

I take my right to vote and my right of free speech seriously. I’m a first generation American. My father and all of my grandparents were born in a country (Poland) that was often occupied or under the control of more powerful nations. Fortunately, my father and grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe before WW II--but they heard tales of how relatives suffered during and after the war under the domination of Nazis and Communists.

Being a “sixty-something,” I remember, too, watching on TV as peaceful marchers and freedom fighters were beaten, and hosed, and attacked by dogs. I remember the killing of Civil Rights workers. I am hoping that tomorrow every person who has registered to vote will have the opportunity to do so--and that every vote will be counted.

Here is a poetry post for the Monday before Election Day.

From I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

From 1977: Poem for Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
by June Jordan

You used to say, “June?
Honey when you come down here you
supposed to stay with me. Where
Meanin home
against the beer the shotguns and the
point of view of whitemen don’
never see Black anybodies without
some violent itch start up.
The ones who
said, “No Nigga’s Votin in This Town . . .
lessen it be feet first to the booth”
Then jailed you
beat you brutal
you blue beyond the feeling
of the terrible...

You can read the rest of the poem here.

From the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (1960-19660): Read about Fannie Lou Hamer.

From Children of Our Era
by Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

Here are the first three stanzas and the last two stanzas of Szymborska’s poem:

We are children of our era;
our era is political.

All affairs, day and night,
yours, ours, theirs,
are political affairs.

Like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin a political cast,
your eyes a political aspect.

Or even a conference table whose shape
was disputed for months:
should we negotiate life and death
at a round table or a square one?

Meanwhile people were dying,
animals perishing,
houses burning,
and fields growing wild,
just as in times most remote
and less political.

You can read the rest of the poem here.


Linda said...

I just got back from voting. The lines were long, but it was worth the wait.

My, how things have changed since we were kids.

I never knew about Fannie Hamer. Thanks for sharing this poem.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I'll be leaving to vote within the hour. I'm happy to see that so many citizens are voting in this presidential election.

jama said...

Wonderful post, Elaine. Loved all the poems (the second and third were new to me). MA and HI are both blue states -- today I'm really hoping VA will go that way too!!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Virginia will "go" blue in this election, too!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Wow. Posting Langston today gave me chills. Thanks, Elaine!

Charlotte said...

Powerful stuff--thanks for sharing!

and hooray for us!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Jules, I thought that poem by Langston Hughes was most appropriate for posting. I love his poetry.

Charlotte, I do think poetry can be the most powerful literary form in which to state our opinions and feelings.

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