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A Eulogy for Justice

It looks like we got justice for George Floyd
Because of the techniques that were employed.
But what about the life of Ashli Babbit?
Shouldn’t justice be a constant habit?

The Floyds got all the money and the verdict
But the Babbit name? No one has even heard it.
The real truth is that her life didn’t matter
While the press and other fat cats just get fatter.

.

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What Happened, America?

America the beautiful what happened now to thee,
To kindness born of brotherhood from sea to shining sea,
To ideals of religious freedom and democracy,
The willingness to fight for right and love of liberty?

Who welcomed masses yearning just for opportunity
To work and learn and love amidst a new found family
Where our belief in right and wrong and moral certainty
Would carve a path to righteousness and sign our destiny?

It seems we have diverted from our well-intentioned quest
A polarized society not leaning East or West,
But further left as partisans decide for us what’s best,
Bestowing powers on a few, ignoring all the rest.

Oh God, I really am in fear for our democracy,
A government dependent on forthright integrity.
On leaders whose intentions should be not for them but me.
Please take us backward whence we came, from sea to shining sea.

.

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Richard Lackman is an orthopaedic cancer surgeon and poet.


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54 Responses

  1. Tonia Kalouria

    “Take us back” indeed. You have so beautifully captured the mindset of us who lived in America “Before.”

    Reply
  2. Sally Cook

    Mr. Lackman –

    These questions need to be asked, and often!
    Thanks for joining us.

    Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Officer Chauvin was guilty of nothing at all, except doing his job. He was crucified to satisfy a screaming mob of Antifa and BLM morons and their media enablers.

    If this blatant miscarriage of justice doesn’t make you think a little harder about the current situation we face, then you’re an ostrich.

    Reply
  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    Yes, how long before we see justice for Ms Babbitt–and for the other demonstrors who entered the Capitol 1/6/21?

    Reply
    • Tonya McQuade

      They deserve PUNISHMENT for their traitorous actions, not excusals or acquittals. They injured – and killed! – police officers, vandalized the Capitol, and sought to track down and perhaps injure or kill our government leaders. At least one of them “hunted” Nancy Pelosi. And yet you think Ms. Babbitt – and others like her – and the ones who were wronged here? I find it very sad so many of the poems and posts on this page are so one-sidedly and extremely right-wing in their thinking. I enjoy rhyme and meter – and I was happy to find this site as a place that appreciated more traditional forms of poetry. However, I frequently find the condescending, narrow-minded, bigoted, conspiratorial political thinking on this page abhorrent. Too many of you seem to long for “the good old days” when white people in our society “held all the cards” and others were silenced and oppressed for their race, color, gender, or sexual orientation. Today, I find I can no longer hold my tongue. We should be celebrating that the jury in Chauvin’s trial actually came through for once with a well-deserved guilty verdict, when SO MANY times in the past, Black people in this country have found no justice in our court systems.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Ms. McQuade, your comment talks of injustice and inequality, yet you go on to slate Ashli Babbit with the reputation assigned her by the mainstream media’s propaganda. You speak as if her life were meaningless simply because she was in the Capitol building at the time of the trouble, which we know very little about because most of the information has been shut down. This lady was a veteran with an unblemished record. She was also unarmed. She was shot by David Bailey, a capital police officer who pledged allegiance on his FB page to BLM.

        You are standing up for George Floyd as if he were saint. He was a violent criminal whose body was pumped full of enough drugs to kill him at the time the officer restrained him. I agree that the force was excessive. The same knee restraint was used on Tony Timpa in Dallas in 2016. He was an innocent white man, and I bet you’ve never heard of him. In fact, statistics will tell you that far more white men per capita die at the hands of police than black men. I bet you didn’t know that either. And where were all the social justice warriors peacefully protesting by burning, looting, maiming and murdering in Tony Timpa’s name when he died under the knee of a police officer, who was acquitted, by the way.

        I am an immigrant who became a US citizen in 2018. I see a country whose people welcome immigrants from all over the globe. A country who voted in a black president. A country whose people embrace those of all sexual orientations, a country whose people revel in our differences, a country who has given us the best of everything… the main one being freedom. I am not saying America (like any other country) doesn’t have its flaws, but America doesn’t throw gay people from rooftops, put those practicing their religion in concentration camps and slice out their organs to sell, mutilate women’s genitalia in the name of their culture, prevent women from working, getting an education or driving etc. etc. Yet, where is your voice on these heinous atrocities? You are happy to call the members of the SCP “abhorrent” because they are “narrow-minded, bigoted, conspiratorial [in their] political thinking” yet the real crimes in global society get your pass.

        I suggest you uncritically accepted and swallowed the mainstream media’s propaganda with no personal research. Your inflammatory statement isn’t based in facts, and that is where today’s problems in society stem from.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        You feel like celebrating, McQuade? Go ahead and celebrate. Let’s see if you still celebrate when there are no longer any police officers willing to respond when you’re attacked, robbed, or raped.

      • C.B. Anderson

        You really should hold your tongue, T. McQ., at least until you get your facts straight. If you don’t like it here, then you can always unsubscribe.

  5. Tonya McQuade

    I, for one, rejoice in this verdict that holds a police officer accountable for his evil actions. He acted unjustly and unmercifully, breaking his own department’s policies, and committed a murderous lynching in front of an audience – one in which a brave teenage girl fortunately held a camera, or we would most likely be looking at yet another case of police brutality being deemed acceptable and a guilty officer acquitted. People need to stop thinking police officers are above the law. Departments need to get rid of their “bad apples” so the whole bunch doesn’t go rotten.

    Reply
    • Frank De Canio

      Well said, Tonya. I’m neither left nor right. I can’t justify random violence on the one hand; not accept police brutality on the other. I’m all for a just society “with freedom and justice for all.” I recall Albert Camus’ “I neither want to be the victim nor the executioner. Why is that so difficult?”

      Reply
      • Tonya McQuade

        Yes – I agree. I am not a supporter of random violence on any front. I believe in the power of nonviolent protests to raise awareness and call for change when needed. I believe in the power of civil disobedience to challenge unfair and unjust laws – and I like to believe, if I lived in the requisite place and time, that I would have helped slaves escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad, stood up to white vigilantes burning down Tulsa’s Greenwood district in 1921, hidden Jews in my house during WWII, spoken up in support of Japanese Americans as they were being forced from their homes along the West Coast, and invited Black friends to sit at my table during the days of Jim Crow. I have spoken up on MANY causes through the years – using voting, letter writing, petition drives, peaceful protests, acts of service, and charitable donations, as well as my teaching, to help work for and promote positive change. I don’t believe in riots – but contrary to what many on this page seem to believe, the vast majority of BLM protests have been nonviolent, and they are NOT calling for “all police to be murdered,” as stated in Susan’s comment above. Read their platform. They call for “demilitarization” of the police, reforming of the police, “defunding” of the police (and no, that does not mean “abolishing” or taking away all funds – but putting more funding into other community agencies that might better respond to certain situations, such as mental health care professionals or social worker). Many police officers themselves call for the same things. Right-wing commentators like to misrepresent BLM. They also like to blame everything on “antifa,” making them some sort of all-encompassing boogeyman responsible for all sorts of evils – including the Capitol riots. Witness testimonies, social media posts, and video recordings have proven otherwise. Police are hired, trained, and paid to protect us, to be public servants. And while they may, at times, have to pull a gun in self-defense or to protect someone else in bodily danger, in far too many cases, they have “fired first and asked questions later,” using guns when completely unnecessary, acting not as protectors of the peace but as judge, jury, and executioner all at once. That has to change.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I agree with the first part of your comment. I too would have stood by the suffragettes, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi. In today’s world I’m standing up for the Falun Gong. My heart bleeds for the Iranian people, the citizens of North Korea, Hong Kong, Africa etc. etc.

        BLM are a self-declared “trained Marxist” organization (Patrisse Cullors). These criminals have asked if “people are really ready to get blood on their hands” and they have called for the murder of the police. I thought we were on the same page… we might be if you do your research first. You say you don’t support violence. BLM are Violent with a capital V.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Richard, thank you very much for your astute observations through poetry. They’re much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      McQuade’s lengthy and self-congratulatory comment above is a textbook example of left-liberal virtue-signaling. Now she can show it to all her friends and colleagues, and they can praise her for her courage and rectitude and moral high status. It’s pure, posturing narcissism.

      And in reality, she is TAKING NO RISKS WHATSOEVER with her pompous pronouncement, which is not the case for persons like Susan and Michael Bryant, Richard Lackman, and anyone else here who speaks out against this kangaroo-court charade.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Joe S., thank you for this.

        Anyone with an independent opinion that doesn’t parrot the mainstream narrative is a target for cancellation and ridicule. This includes loss of friends, family, jobs and now (in some countries, and we may follow with the vaccine passport) loss of ability to participate in community activities, work, travel and purchase of food. I do worry about the consequences of speaking out, but I honestly hope Ms. McQuade, who appears to have a fair heart, will do the necessary research and join me in my quest for equal opportunity for all, not equal outcome for all – there’s a big difference… Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, the USSR, and all those who have been under or are under the boot of totalitarianism will tell you exactly what that difference is.

        We are on the road to totalitarianism and your “ostrich” comment above says exactly why.

      • Tonya McQuade

        I encourage you to open your mind a bit, read some of the counternarratives and antiracist texts that have been published in recent years (there are many that contradict your “facts” – I suggest you start with Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson; if you want a novel, try Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give), and try listening to some opinions that might contradict your own. The poets and posters on this site often seem to be “preaching to the choir,” never doubting the congratulatory “slaps on the back” that typically come their way in support of their political opinions. I’ve been wondering where the other voices are – I know everyone on this site can’t agree with the “Trumpy” way so many of you see the world. I keep waiting to see if those with more progressive leanings will ever speak up or see their poems published; but then, I wonder if you’ve scared them all away. Do those who enjoy “classical” poetry but have more liberal leanings have a place on the SCP page? I quickly realized, when my first poems published here were criticized for making “style” two syllables and rhyming “again” with “win” (which, in my California accent, sound the same), and a later one was criticized for using slant rhyme (which poets such as Emily Dickinson have done very adeptly), that this was an often hyper-critical group with very rigid ideas. When I saw how frequently, in comments, posters denigrated free verse as being useless drivel and not “real” poetry, writing off those poets who choose to express themselves – often very meaningfully and articulately – in this form, I recognized that this was not a group very open to free-thinkers, experimentation, or breaking with the status quo. However, others expressed their welcome and support – and to them, I am thankful. I continued to subscribe to the page – and have read many beautiful , intelligent, thought-provoking, and metrical poems these past four years. Over the past couple years, though, the page has gotten more and more politically right wing. If the goal is to make this a strictly “conservative” page, where those with differing views – views based on EXTENSIVE reading and research, frequent travel and community service, personal connections with people of widely diverse backgrounds, 32 years of teaching, and living in one of the most diverse “hometowns” (Silicon Valley) in the world – then you’re doing a good job of making “classical poetry” only for rigid traditionalists with rightwing views. If that’s not your goal, you might think a bit more about the “temperature and tone” of the poetry you publish and the comments you post on a daily basis. I am not “parroting” anyone on this page or anywhere else – I am speaking a long pent up frustration and truth.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Okay Tonya, I’ve been polite. I’ve given considered opinions with back-up information. Others have put themselves out to do the same, and so has the poet whose page you are on… and all we get in return is more name calling and now you’re pulling the entire site down for its commitment to the integrity of formal poetry.

        I suggest you look at fofg.org first and foremost. The SCP was built by people who stand up for those who are persecuted. And where are your thoughts on Tony Timpa… where are your thoughts on the police officer who killed Ashli Babbit? Where is your respect for me? I’ve listened to you and replied politely, factually, and with consideration for your feelings… you have insulted me into the bargain.

        I come from Kent in England and worked in the diverse city of London for many years… and you accuse me and others of having “Trumpy ways”, being “condescending”, “narrow-minded”, “bigoted”, of indulging in “conspiratorial political thinking”, all of which you consider “abhorrent”. You also say, “…I like to believe, if I lived in the requisite place and time, that I would have helped slaves escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad, stood up to white vigilantes burning down Tulsa’s Greenwood district in 1921, hidden Jews in my house during WWII, spoken up in support of Japanese Americans as they were being forced from their homes along the West Coast, and invited Black friends to sit at my table during the days of Jim Crow…” but now, while Falun Gong and Uighurs in China are being killed, raped, having their organs and eyes ripped out (while still conscious) to sell to the West… and women around the world are having their genitals mutilated, children are being sex-trafficked across the border etc. etc. you prefer to turn your back on them. You prefer to narrow your focus and blame me and those here on SCP for being narrow-minded bigots. And to divert from your inability to afford a researched and considered reply you pull the site down instead.

        This is ridiculous beyond belief – I’m done with your insults.

    • Tonya McQuade

      Why do you assume I don’t care about those other issues? The people suffering in other countries? The millions of refugees stuck in camps around the world? The women who are trafficked and forced into prostitution? The slaves working in brothels, mines, fisheries, and other forced labor sites who outnumber the slaves that existed when slavery was legal around the world? The people silenced and/or thrown into prison by their governments? The journalists threatened, maimed, or killed for reporting on the truth? The young girls around the world who cannot attend school and are “sold” into marriages far too young? The many who do not have safe water to drink? The millions whose homes are endangered by global warming? The children around the world who are hungry, orphaned, neglected – or whose parents are drug addicts, warlords, or pimps? Those who are in such fear for their safety that they walk hundreds, thousands of miles to try to enter a new country that promises hope – but doesn’t want them? I have not written here about all the causes about which I care, all the organizations to which I give, all the topics about which I teach, and all the people and places for which I cry. I addressed here the issues brought up by the poems above – and by the comments that followed, especially the one that said “Officer Chauvin was guilty of nothing at all, except doing his job. He was crucified to satisfy a screaming mob of Antifa and BLM morons and their media enablers.” To that, I had to respond because it is absolutely not true. There’s no reason for you to assume the worst about me – or to assume I gave you a treatise on all the problems, crises, and issues I think are important in the world.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        It’s difficult to have a dialogue with anyone who insists on name calling. We all tried. We all failed.

  7. Mike Bryant

    As usual, the bomb throwers throw their bombs (insults), are answered courteously and factually, then they silently walk away.

    Reply
    • Tonya McQuade

      No – they have to work, teaching their students and leading discussions, and come back at the end of their work day to see what new falsities, contrivances, misrepresentations, and defenses of the “status quo” have been thrown their way.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        So, the teachers… union members… hundred thousand dollar salaries… 80% pensions… are turning our children against those who pay.
        I wonder if you’ve heard of César Reynel Aguilera. I think he might know more than someone who has been swimming in the propaganda of the day for too many years. At least, hear what Mr. Aguilera has to say.
        He’s not a teacher, but he does have the truth on his side.

        https://impunityobserver.com/2020/07/24/the-blm-strategy-seven-ds-of-communism/

        Thanks for your consideration.

    • Tonya McQuade

      The “Seven D’s” sound a lot like what Trump and his cronies did in many situations. He was great at creating “enemies” and burning bridges with our allies around the world. (Oh, and cozying up to Russian and North Korean Communists – he prefers their autocratic style). I prefer democracy and don’t appreciate all the voter suppression efforts currently underway in many red states. But back to the main issue: police brutality needs to be addressed – and BLM is helping to shine a light on that need. Fortunately, many police departments across the country are responding, and many governmental leaders are listening. Many authors are telling the stories that help to explain and humanize these complex issues so more people can empathize and understand. Unfortunately, many others would rather stay blind and deaf to the oppression people of color have faced for too long. They’d rather villify and condemn BLM so they don’t have to grapple with a truth they don’t want to acknowledge and address: systemic racism exists in this country – and goes deep in the policing systems that were, in many places, first established to serve as slave patrols, then which later served to keep people of color in their place throughout the Jim Crow South and segregated North. They were NOT there arresting the lynchers, the harrassers, the assaulters, and in many cases the murderers of Blacks. They were NOT there trying to ensure justice for Black victims, arresting white perpetrators who often bragged about their crimes. They were there in the “photo postcards” taken at lynchings, that people collected as souvenirs – sometimes along with body parts cut from the victims. They were often there, hidden in the white robes. They were there sending their dogs after civil rights protesters or beating them with batons. They were there watching the Freedom Riders’ bus burn. That’s systemic – and while I believe the majority of police officers today – and I have friends who are police officers – are doing their job to the best of their ability and have a goal of serving and protecting the public, I think there are others who still hold those racist attitudes, who get into policing because they like the sense of power it provides, who don’t always follow the training they’ve received, who make bad calls and feel no regrets about being “overly rough” with certain people, and who do NOT deserve to wear the uniform or to be shielded from responsibility for their actions. Yes, teachers and police officers are both “pensioners” – but I don’t see that as a word to be spewed with contempt, as you seem to believe. During the time when our country’s middle class was most robust, when income inequality was nowhere near the rates that it is today, when much of the infrastructure of this country (including many highways and universities) was being built and the tax rate was much higher on high income individuals and corporations, many more workers were union members who received pensions. The minimum wage was higher, more people had their healthcare paid for, more workers had the benefits of paid sick leave and vacations – all of which I think are good things. Teachers work hard for their pay – especially these past two years, where we’ve moved from in person teaching, to fully remote teaching, to now various hybrid forms of teaching. I’ve been putting in 60-70 hour work weeks – and fully deserve the salary I earn. Your venom is aimed at the wrong person.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Points of view and facts are not venom!

      • Mike Bryant

        You win… cultural Marxism is our future. Our kids belong to the ruling class. No one should ever question anything that the state decides is for everyone’s benefit. The group is more important than the individual. I know you would take up for all the oppressed in history. You are holding up five fingers. All animals are equal.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        There’s one truth that we can all see, McQuade – you’re a motor-mouth.

  8. Richard Lackman

    I’m just a normal American. I am tired to my core by all of the ideology hyping and virtue signaling. I want to return to a time when ideology simply stood for community, respect, kindness, tolerance, patience and yes pride in our great country. We have always had things to fix and always will. If you want perfection, go to heaven. Down here it is just us. People honestly committed to improving things do so constructively.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Richard, I am certain your poetry is an honest reflection of how the majority of Americans feel. The trouble is, in these scary times, a patriotic poet who cares about fair treatment for all cannot speak the language of the heart without being torn down. Only PC language designed for all is considered acceptable. Thank you very much for speaking out poetically. Also, your comment says everything.

      Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      On many levels, Richard, I want to engage you. My first point would be to note a classic saying: Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die. And, if nothing else, a person should be true to himself and to the truth. One can be excused for having a false belief, but no one can be excused from failing to act in accordance with his own convictions. But these are not heroic times.

      Reply
  9. Yael

    These are both well written poems but I have a couple of questions about the subject matter:
    Is George Floyd alive and were the videos faked?
    https://stateofthenation.co/?p=61495
    Who is/was Ashli Babbit?
    https://www.brighteon.com/7a4185a8-e055-41ca-8b5d-e11a5af63305
    https://stateofthenation.co/?p=59394
    These are not rhetorical questions since I do not know the answers to them. I think it’s important not to jump to conclusions in these matters, as a wise and godly man once said ” let God be true, but every man a liar”, and also “There is none righteous, no, not one”.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Yael, for some reason your troubling comment reminds me of the words in a meme that’s circulating at present:

      If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other.

      I am cooling down and vowing never to rise to the ant-bait in the future.

      Reply
      • Yael

        Good for you Susan. It’s a waste of time to fight and argue, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
        Contemporary issues are so complex and it is always helpful to ask “cui bono?” to figure out what’s really going on, but ultimately everything in life boils down to one simple question:
        Who’s your daddy, Christ or Satan?
        So rejoice, because there is power in the blood of Jesus!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Yael, thank you very much for your humbling and beautiful comment. This heated exchange has benefited no one. I knew the outcome before the ant jar was shaken and I’m disappointed in myself for not listening to my inner sage. Your words have benefited me greatly… sometimes I lose sight of the bigger, brighter, shining picture. Thank you for painting it for me and framing it so perfectly. You’re a diamond!

  10. Paul Freeman

    Thank you Tonya and Frank – and everyone else – for your passion.

    I’ve taken a vow of silence for the sake of my blood pressure.

    Reply
  11. Jan Darling

    Dear God! Thank you, fellow poets, for your patient attempts to introduce reason and sense in the face of wilful ignorance. It cannot work without an honest intention to listen. Tonya has too much time on her hands. Ephesians 6:12 got it right. And, sadly, Susan’s ants seem to me an accurate reflection of our world today.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Jan. It’s difficult to help someone understand the truth when their paycheck requires that they don’t. I’m sure you know that is a rewording of the famous Upton Sinclair quote. There’s an interesting look at the quote, along with a few variations, here:

      https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/30/salary/

      I like this variation… H. L. Mencken once warned, “Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced.”

      In Texas, it’s, “Dance with the one what brung ya.”

      Reply
  12. Joseph S. Salemi

    Many persons of good will are basically enslaved to their paychecks, their health insurance plans, and their retirement package. You can’t blame them, for if these things were taken away they and their families would essentially starve in poverty.

    Millions of Americans know quite well that the Chauvin trial was an unjust farce, but they cannot utter a word against it. There are too many left-wing “woke” types who will go after them.

    The older totalitarians simply arrested you and threw you into a concentration camp. The newer ones just make you unemployable, and wreck your career. The result is the same for the victim, but “woke” idiots can congratulate themselves on how virtuously they have acted.

    Reply
  13. Talbot

    Dear Tonya,

    I appreciate your bravery here, for what it’s worth. There are lion’s dens on both sides of the political aisle, and it certainly isn’t easy airing one’s opinions in today’s environment.

    To get to the heart of your posts above: “Do those who enjoy “classical” poetry but have more liberal leanings have a place on the SCP page?” I believe the answer is either an outright “no” or “a continually-shrinking one”. Being a political centrist (though one who hovers slightly to the left), I too have been monitoring these changes in the SCP over the past years. Certainly poetry can be political and discuss whatever topic the poet chooses, but there seems a bit much of it here at times, and it certainly is all of one flavor. Of course, I don’t blame anyone for that, as it’s simply the structure of the internet at present; you can find similar left-wing poetry blogs at a-dime-a-dozen rates, too. It’s not a unique phenomenon. (But, like you, I do care about the SCP ultimately, which is why I bother to raise these points here and not elsewhere.)

    Like you, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of many of the people here, and I have benefitted greatly from several people’s suggestions and criticisms in the past. For me, the SCP is a great resource and a treasure of poetically-minded humans. But the SCP has a Jekyll-Hyde problem. The apolitical half, which simply wants to discuss form and meter, give suggestions, and offer criticism in a collegial way all in the hopes of honing individual poetic skill and intuition, is somewhat at war with the political half, which is either self-congratulatory (for those who agree), or aggressively-retaliatory (for those who don’t). Generally these two camps don’t intersect, especially in the comments sections, in my experience.

    Anyways, thanks for bringing this point up. It’s one I’ve considered a lot, and it’s one that the SCP is going to have to grapple with.

    Reply
    • Tonya McQuade

      Thank you, Talbot, for your kind and thoughtful response. They might need to rename the page if it continues in the same direction – many of the voices here are “aggressively-retaliatory,” indeed, if you don’t toe their line. Anyone who disagrees cannot possibly be knowledgeable, sensible, reasonable, well-read, research-oriented, and historically-informed. Instead, they must be a narcissistic “cultural Marxist” who is “swimming in propaganda” and “enslaved to their paycheck.” I assure you, I am all of the first and none of the latter. This “lion’s den” seems to want to only serve an increasingly limited audience made up of a like-minded chorus. Among other things, they are convinced they know better than the jury that heard and saw all the evidence and rather quickly determined Derek Chauvin to be guilty. Fortunately, many police officers agree with them and continue to look at ways they might reform their departments to more effectively and justly meet the needs of the communities they serve.

      Reply
      • Talbot

        I guess, for me, the basic point and question is this, and I would love to hear a variety of answers to it:

        Given that all types of people can love “classical” poetry, from all walks of life and myriad political avenues, what type of community does the SCP want, at the end of the day?

        I don’t know if this has ever been explicitly brought up before, but I’m curious to see the responses, specifically from those who have been here longer than I have, and those who have a hand in the production and maintenance of this organization.

        [For instance, on the homepage, I see “Whatfingernews – the Internet’s Conservative Webpage.]

    • The Society

      Dear Talbot and Tonya,

      As the editor who reviews and selects all of the poetry that appears on SCP website, I can tell you that the majority of the poetry published by the SCP does not have any political leaning. Of the minority of poems that do, they generally do lean conservative. This is probably an unavoidable reality since the liberal impulse is toward changing traditions to suit modern needs and situations, which makes the tennis net and boundary lines of form and rhyme easily expungable. People may submit poetry with any perspective (with at least traditional meter) and no political party is given special treatment. The Society is first and foremost a poetry endeavor. We want excellent poetry and maintain only a basic sense of humanity in line with the classical principles of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, which are not political.

      Keep in mind that whoever is the published poet can control the comments. So this tells you, if you want to get your perspective out there, then submit some excellent poems and get published, then you are in charge! As it stands, I don’t think you two have submitted in quite some time.

      Regarding Whatfinger.com, if there is an equivalent liberal news outlet who wants to advertise, please have them contact me.

      -Evan Mantyk, Editor

      Reply
      • Talbot

        Dear Evan,

        Thank you for the prompt reply. You’re absolutely correct in saying that much of the poetry published here has no political content whatsoever. Yet, a significant portion of it does. I also agree (with some qualifications) that these poems tend to lean conservative due towards the “liberal impulse” to change tradition (i.e. forego rhyme/meter). But I believe that to only be a part of the picture. Another part might be: how welcome do the more liberally-minded feel to publish here? (I feel bristling from certain parties, but bear with me.) Now, this may be something outside of the Society’s control at this point, but if it is true that people of all political bents are capable of loving more traditional poetry (which I think is clear), is the Society a place where everyone feels like they have a poetic home? Again, I am not calling for censorship or for you to cut off the aforementioned advertiser; I am merely pointing out a trend (and something that many before me have noticed), and asking if it is what you (in particular, as editor) want. Of course I am not insinuating that this drift to the right was intentional — I think it was in fact quite natural. But that is a descriptive claim about how the website currently is, and I suppose I am most concerned with how you want the website to be.

        I’d bet my bottom dollar that there are many left-of-center readers and poets that would love to publish here and simply aren’t, due to the things we’ve been discussing. Now, the obvious answer here is to say: “To hell with them. They can get a backbone, or get out.” That would certainly be the easy route to take. And yet I wonder if that is the correct answer. I wonder if some sort of bridge might yet be built, even if the Society publishes poets of all political bents (which I believe is true, as you said). How that could be done is something we could yet discuss. I just think it a shame that we are potentially missing out on so much (potentially-) good poetry due to this phenomenon.

        (In writing this comment, I found out just how difficult it was to make the argument I want to make. I’ve probably done a shoddy job, but I hope there’s at least a kernel of sense in there.)

        Best,

        Talbot

  14. Joseph S. Salemi

    Dear Mr. Talbot —

    It is an old rhetorical ploy of left-liberals to pose as “the voice of reason,” and to stand “above the fray” in order to denigrate or devalue anyone with a strong right-of-center viewpoint. Besides this, your use of the problematic word “community” is a dead giveaway of your agenda. Like other dogwhistle words of the left (“alliance,” “collective,” and “progressive”) it tells us your stance before you even begin.

    When you ask the faux-naive and seemingly open-hearted question “What kind of community does the SCP want, at the end of the day?” you are basically ignoring a plain fact: this IS a community! No one is excluded from coming here to submit metrical poems or to comment. No one has been kicked off for their political views. Its just that if you come here, you had better have a thick skin, because we in this community are not concerned about anyone’s feelings.

    The SCP just happens to be a community that you and McQuade don’t actually like, and would prefer to change. But instead of honestly admitting that desire, you come with this butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-your-mouth soft-spoken piety to complain about “Jekyll and Hyde problems” or “aggressive retaliation.” Part of our freedom of speech is the right to speak in the ways that we see fit, and not to tailor our rhetoric to suit you comfort zone. Got that?

    Have you asked the vast majority of leftist and left-liberal and “woke” websites about their treatment of any conservative poet who dares to show up and speak his mind? Have you heard the word “cancelling”? Why come here and bother us about our robust language, unless you have an unspoken agenda? Do you want to tone us down, as a way to feel better about coming here to learn about metrical verse?

    McQuade came here not to learn anything about metrics or to comment on the merits of Lackman’s posted poem, but only to explode in rage against the poem’s content, and about the tenor of the supporting comments that followed. SHE’S the one making a demand, and calling for condemnation of a viewpoint she finds intolerable. So you tell us — who’s the real source of all this argument? Who’s trying to shut down certain viewpoints?

    We now live in a highly polemical age, one that has reached a white-hot heat of argumentation. There is no way that some of us here are going to let obnoxious left-liberal statements pass without return fire, or sarcastic comment. Your complaint is basically “I’m uncomfortable with that.” Well then, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or find a different kitchen.

    Reply
    • Tonya McQuade

      That you are “are not concerned about anyone’s feelings” is something you have made crystal clear, on numerous occasions, on this page – and is not something I would brag about. Fortunately, I do not believe that is true of everyone who is part of this community – and have appreciated the positive, encouraging words I have at times received from others in response to my poetry. My initial comments here were less in response to Richard’s poems than to the early comments by you and Julian Woodruff. Yours, especially, I felt demanded a response. And as I said above, fortunately the jury in the Derek Chauvin case – who saw and heard all the evidence – disagreed with your pompous, peevish, prejudiced pronouncement.

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Is that the best you can do, McQuade? I guess they don’t demand too much from teachers in California.

    • Talbot

      Dear Joseph,

      I don’t want to bicker for long, but I hope to clear up a few assumptions I think were unwarranted on your part, given that my intentions are purer than you seem to expect. Whether or not you choose to believe me is up to you.

      “Besides this, your use of the problematic word “community” is a dead giveaway of your agenda. Like other dogwhistle words of the left (“alliance,” “collective,” and “progressive”) it tells us your stance before you even begin.

      As I said, I am quite a centrist, although I do drift slightly toward the left in certain regards (and to the right in others). This I will not apologize for, but my only “agenda” with these comments is to get people to consider the type of community that exists here. Nothing more.

      “When you ask the faux-naive and seemingly open-hearted question “What kind of community does the SCP want, at the end of the day?” you are basically ignoring a plain fact: this IS a community! No one is excluded from coming here to submit metrical poems or to comment. No one has been kicked off for their political views. Its just that if you come here, you had better have a thick skin, because we in this community are not concerned about anyone’s feelings.”

      You cannot read my heart one tenth as well as you might think. I agree that this is a community; I never disputed that. (In fact, what else could it be?) But assuming that community is a continually-built thing, it does behoove us to ask what kind of community we want it to be. I would also say that people here generally *do* care about people’s feelings; no one (or very few people) is intentionally going out of their way to “harm” others, even though this often happens in spirited discourse. I would further state that this sense of compassion/care is largely a good thing. Decorum and courtesy are important for social cohesion, here and elsewhere.

      “The SCP just happens to be a community that you and McQuade don’t actually like, and would prefer to change. But instead of honestly admitting that desire, you come with this butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-your-mouth soft-spoken piety to complain about “Jekyll and Hyde problems” or “aggressive retaliation.” Part of our freedom of speech is the right to speak in the ways that we see fit, and not to tailor our rhetoric to suit you comfort zone. Got that?”

      You are wrong on this. I do care, which is why I bother to speak at all. If I didn’t care, I would simply leave (as you exhort me to). I would also argue that caring about something and wanting to change it are not at all antithetical. For instance, I love this country, but there are still things I would like to change about it; it is my love of country that inspires this change, in fact. Lastly, I would never seek to stymie your freedom of speech. You may call me whatever you like in whatever manner you like, but that is precisely one of the points I am bringing up: what should be the tenor of this community when disagreements are had? (Again, I am not intentionally pointing fingers, but merely bringing up a point for discussion. Again, it is up to you whether you believe me or not.)

      “Have you asked the vast majority of leftist and left-liberal and “woke” websites about their treatment of any conservative poet who dares to show up and speak his mind? Have you heard the word “cancelling”? Why come here and bother us about our robust language, unless you have an unspoken agenda? Do you want to tone us down, as a way to feel better about coming here to learn about metrical verse?”

      I’m not here to play “whataboutism”; indeed, in my first post, I did knock more leftist outlets for playing such games.

      “SHE’S the one making a demand, and calling for condemnation of a viewpoint she finds intolerable. So you tell us — who’s the real source of all this argument? Who’s trying to shut down certain viewpoints? . . . We now live in a highly polemical age, one that has reached a white-hot heat of argumentation. There is no way that some of us here are going to let obnoxious left-liberal statements pass without return fire, or sarcastic comment. Your complaint is basically “I’m uncomfortable with that.” Well then, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or find a different kitchen.”

      I don’t necessarily disagree, though I don’t think she’s trying to see you silenced. I also don’t disagree with argumentation, however lively; it’s just the nature of the argumentation that, as you say, “makes me uncomfortable”. (Though again you are assuming the contents of my mind, again incorrectly.) I am not decrying the discourse because of how it makes me feel (both you and I agree that that would be moot), I am decrying it because it’s simply not effective nor helpful for changing people’s hearts and minds. Nor is it pleasant to read, in any way. But this smaller point about comment-discourse is only secondary, and a hard thing to get one’s finger on. My larger issue was with the political bent of the website as a whole, which is fairly indisputable. What should be done about it is simply the question I wish to raise.

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Your last two sentences leave you wide open. It’s just too easy. As boxers say, you are “leading with your chin.”

        If, as you say “the political bent of the website as a whole… is fairly indisputable,” then your asking of the question “[W]hat should be done about it” is a confession that you are unhappy, and want to change that political bent. That’s an “agenda.”

        This is exactly what McQuade wanted to do with her outburst against Lackman’s poem and some of the follow-up comments. She objected to the CONTENTS of what was said, and your argument centers on the notion that if contents are objectionable to people like her, they should be toned down, or sugar-coated, or disguised.

        You say you’re against censorship, but that’s just soft-core censorship. When you tell someone what kind of rhetoric he’s obliged to use, and under what conditions he may use it, you are no different from any other censor.

        I have nothing against you, Mr. Talbot, and you are obviously a non-fanatical and civil person. However, we are in the middle of a WAR. The guns haven’t been loaded yet, but it’s only a matter of time. In a war, liberal and centrist positions such as you espouse are dead on arrival, and will play no role whatsoever in the coming bloodbath. I don’t say this as a polemical assault on you, but simply to try and tell you what the real-world situation is. Being polite and courteous and civil at this moment in history is to forfeit the battle, and to allow the enemy to win without a fight.

        Let’s not lose sight of one thing: it was McQuade who jumped in here to ignite this firestorm. If she had not been answered vigorously, ten to one she would have become our in-house “wokeness” Gauleiter, policing this site for whatever non-p.c. statements appeared. I’ve seen this happen over and over again!
        Give the left an inch, and they’ll make an immediate moral claim for a mile.

  15. Talbot

    Dear Joseph,

    Although I don’t necessarily disagree with the overall thrust of your argument, my primary desire with these posts is not to encourage censorship, but to raise the question about it (if I can make such a distinction). Soft censorship very well might happen during a shift in politics (or at least political discourse) on this website. But please note I’m not openly calling for that. I’m predominantly focusing on the hypothetical that we might be missing out on a lot of good poetry due to the political bent of the site. (And, as I stated above, the ready quip would be for potential writers to “grow a spine”, but, again, I wonder what the possibilities are, if the goal is simply to get as much good poetry in circulation as possible.) Ultimately, this is a very difficult topic, and the route forward will obviously be determined by the goal. If the goal is poetry, then I think we’re missing out, and something might need to give. If that’s not the goal, then I suppose I have no changes to recommend. But I do think this topic well worth considering, which is why I bother to bring it up in the first place.

    As regards the Culture War, I don’t know if things are as dire as you say or not, but I truly hope it doesn’t come to shots being fired. A civil war is not something I would like to experience, if I can help it.

    Thanks for the dialogue,

    Talbot

    Reply
  16. Joseph S. Salemi

    We’ve both made our points, so yes, let’s stop. I would add one thing: we don’t always get to choose our wars. Frequently they are thrust upon us.

    Reply
  17. Gregory Richard Spicer

    Oh No! Marxism!

    I sing The Internationale today
    To honor leftist liberal pride
    In the ancient Whiggery way
    The Civil War went and nullified.
    Now a Republican is do and die,
    Irresponsibly with his gun,
    Before giving brains a try
    At having any social fun
    Poo-pooed by Nazi popery
    Opting instead for ammo sales
    Supporting honky snobbery
    Or building still more profiteer jails
    For anyone unduly diverse
    Save for clergy too perverse
    Or any friendly oligarchs
    Not liking Karl…or Groucho Marx.

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Look who’s back — the little Antifa jackass from the Pacific northwest.

      He still hasn’t learned how to write readable poetry. What a shame.

      Reply

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