A PRESIDENT'S POEM**
Are you somebody
who worries whether
you feel as if you feel
voices have been overwhelmed to pass the time
Part of the challenge
is a common conversation ---
stuff that reinforces
why our politics has gotten so polarized
Some new thing has happened ---
a pessimism ---
good people in some quiet place
that did something sensible
And it's all in rap and hip hop,
this vibrancy of American democracy.
That's one of our strengths.
We forget things. Bloody arguments.
You don't know much
about the evolution of slavery;
African Americans seem pretty foreign,
thinking about the separation
of church and state
Yes. We're going through
a spasm of fear.
One of the easiest places to go
is somebody else to blame --
but go ahead
We believed, we welcomed
without being utterly destitute
I'm listening to folk
making these wild claims---
when you go to other airports in other countries
When people feel pinched
the generosity you describe narrows.
We have a dissatisfaction gene.
That can be healthy. A good restlessness.
They don't feel affirmed if they're good.
A PRESIDENT'S POEM, p. 2.
Somebody was looking
like your definition of what
America and freedom should be
when you think about your faith.
Turn off the media for a week.
Come out the other side
with a different anthropology.
What makes you think
this experiment will keep going
I'll try to make...I'll try to persuade
the next time,
but that requires
presumption of goodness.
That's not what our democracy depends on.
That's what a good life depends on.
You'll be disappointed.
Your faith will be confirmed.
Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
November 12, 2015
**Confession: This poem was plagiarized from President Barack Obama's conversation
with Marilynne Robinson, September 14, 2015.