Wednesday, November 2, 2016

faint and incessant






Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways


I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, and it' a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall






... Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty


Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten


Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it


Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall


{Bob Dylan - 1963}




------------------------------------
The 1968 presidential election was similar to the 2016 one, in that there was no incumbent in the race. 


President Johnson had decided to not run again; he would retire to his Texas ranch. 


So the contest was between three non-occupants of the White House:  George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and Hubert Humphrey.


--------------------------- [excerpt, The Education of a Public Man, by Hubert H. Humphrey] ------------------------- Though mother was born in Norway, and my father in Oregon, it was father who used to speak about our country with the reverence of the immigrant.


"Just think of it, boys," he said once, "here we are in the middle of this great big continent, here in South Dakota, with the land stretching out for hundreds of miles, with people who can vote and govern their own lives, with riches enough for all if we will take care to do justice."




...In Doland, Dad was a Democrat among friends and neighbors who took their Republicanism -- along with their religion -- very seriously. ...


My political training began in Doland. ...


Republicanism was synonymous with respectability and Protestantism.  As a boy, I felt that to be a Democrat was to be, if not pagan, at least less than holy.




The "good folks" logic was rigid:  Democrats were Irish; Irish were Catholic; and if you were Democratic, Irish, and Catholic, it was a prima facie case that you could not be respectable, upstanding, or in touch with the True God. 


Even if you were neither Irish nor Catholic but still Democratic, their logic leapt over reason and heaped you in with that suspicious lot.




...When Dad discovered a field of art or learning, he plunged into it as though he were the original discoverer.  During the 1920s...he became interested in classical music. ...


After we moved to Huron, he encountered poetry.  ...He read everything from Edgar Guest to Longfellow to Keats and Shelley and Wordsworth.






...He subscribed to the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Herald Tribune, the Minneapolis Journal, the St. Paul Dispatch, and the Watertown (S.D.) Public Opinion


Time after time, when he read about some political development in Washington or London or Berlin, he'd say, "You should know this, Hubert.  It might affect your life someday."


_______________________________________





[1968, as the Democrats' candidate for the presidency] -- I...said to my staff:  "I'm probably going to lose this election.  Not much we do seems to come out right.  But win or lose, I'm going to speak my mind, and I'm going to fight.  I'm not going to be denied the right to be heard and I'm going to say what I feel."





...I have had time to think about three topics that Richard Nixon and I handled much differently from each other.