Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CC2009: Like a Pinhead Pearl Prized from a Dragon Oyster

I love my country.
And in my heart, I think I would die for the principle of a republican form of government.
But, oy vey ist mir!
Must we argue every word and comma?
And must we bring up issues calculated to divide the body beyond reconciliation?

I guess we must.

But I am reminded once more Marge Piercy's Poem, Report from the Fourteenth Subcommittee on the Formation of a Discussion Group. As you read, note that "when the Pliocene gathers momentum and fades" is not even about the deliberations of the discussion group, but rather about the motion to form one.

Piercy writes in part:

This is how things begin to tilt into change,
how coalitions are knit from strands of hair,
of barbed wire, twine, knitting wool and gut,
how people ease into action arguing each inch,
but the tedium of it is watching granite erode.

Right now we are arguing about reconsidering a change of a word: government to governance. I know that words are important and that law is built on words, and I believe that we should be concerned about them. And yet, and yet . . .
"the tedium of it is watching granite erode."

Our founders were wise. They understood that their own version of Robert's Rules would make the deliberations of our governing bodies inefficient. And they wanted it that way.

But, oh, it is so hard on those of us who grow weary of the grandstanding of would-be orators, those who do not read before they amend, and even (G-d forgive me) the careful reasoning of scholars.

The Body becomes restive and the groaning and gnashing of teeth increases. We shift our bodies, flex our knuckles, mutter under our breaths. Cups are slammed and foreheads are rubbed. Another ice age will come and go and we will sigh in frustration.

"We are evolving into molluscs, barnacles
clinging to wood and plastic, metal and smoke
while the stale and flotsam-laden tide of rhetoric
inches up the shingles and dawdles back.
This is true virtue: to sit here and stay awake,

to listen, to argue, to wade on through the muck
wrestling to some momentary small agreement
like a pinhead pearl prized from a dragon-oyster.
I believe in this democracy as I believethere is blood in my veins, but oh, oh, in me

lurks a tyrant with a double-bladed ax who longs
to swing it wide and shining, who longs to stand
and shriek, You Shall Do as I Say, pig-bastards!
No more committees but only picnics and orgies
and dances. I have spoken. So be it forevermore."
From Mars and Her Children by Marge Piercy

My inner tyrant is pushing against the chains. But I will keep her firmly in hand.

Our founders wanted it this way.

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