A short collection of work by By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall
Bitter Old Men Yelping at Each Other
(rather like some of my in-laws over Christmas dinner)
“Language, the home and receptacle of beauty and meaning….”
-Doctor Zhivago, p. 437
My country, ‘tis of thee
“Get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap!”
Sweet land of liberty
“What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name!”
Of thee I sing
“It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”
Land where my fathers died
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by!”
Land of the pilgrims’ pride
“He’s Putin’s puppet!”
From every mountain side
“You can’t even say the word ‘law enforcement!’”
Let freedom ring
“Will you shut up, man?!”
(No apologies to Samuel Francis Smith; he pinched the tune from “God Save the Queen.” As for the angry old men, they are entirely our own.)
That Fresh Young Political Voice
Abandon your book, says that Fresh Young Voice
Abandon your work, says that Fresh Young Voice
Abandon your life, says that Fresh Young Voice
And line up with me, says that Fresh Young Voice
I am now your book, says that Fresh Young Voice
I am now your work, says that Fresh Young Voice
I am now your life, says that Fresh Young Voice
And do as I say, snarls that Fresh Young Voice
We heard that Fresh Young Voice so long ago
Whispering to us about a certain Tree
Supervising Elections in an Underdeveloped Nation
It well may be that civilized nations
Will send us soldiers to patrol our rubbled streets
And at each poll post tanks and squads of men
To ensure that our elections are fair
Their soldiers will pat our children on their heads
And give them chocolate bars and chewing gum
While practicing their Americanese from little books:
“Where is please coffee shop thank you we are friends”
And propping up each mayor and governor here
A sturdy German, Pole, or Czech will stand
But They Didn’t Give Me an “I VOTED” Sticker
“At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of the point.” -attributed to Winston Churchill
On the Orwellian telescreen the newsies daily give us Apocalyptic stories about the near-impossibility of voting, featuring long lines and stress at the polls, and brief interviews with the sort of people whose mothers never taught them not to say stupid things in public.
My voting experience did not match any of the fashionable sturm und drang. I was on my way for lunch for a friend and voted without long lines, riots, or menacing meanies at a sub-courthouse / cop shop down the road from Stoplight, Texas.
There was a short wait because of CV requirements and because the fellow ahead of me thought the sign about not talking on MePhones didn’t apply to him.
At the entrance to the building reposed a metal frame featuring little green lights at about four feet and again at six feet; a shepherdess advised me I could place my wrist to the lower light or my forehead to the higher light. Always going for that higher light. I assumed that the lights indicated sensors for measuring my temperature, but it may have been a Q plot to absorb my mind.
I’m glad they didn’t take my temp with one of those large plastic guns which they point at your head as if you have gotten crossways of the godfather.
Or at least that’s what Q would have you believe.
Once past the Frame of the Green Lights I was shown into a small room where I was asked to present my voter card and my driving license to another shepherdess. I joked that I hadn’t planned to drive the ballot, but she wasn’t amused.
She placed both cards into machines with illuminated them with blue lights, presumably scanning them for secret information about the time the C.I.A. parachuted me into Russia on a secret mission to…but you could ask Q about that.
Another shepherdess returned both cards to me and gave me a blunt stylus for signing my name on a little screen just like at the supermarket (this week’s special is democracy), gave me a paper ballot (how quaint) and a blue pen, and directed me to a carrel set on a folding table.
And there, I voted, exercising not simply a citizen’s right but a citizen’s duty to participate meaningfully in the self-government of our Republic. All the ads, all the talking, all the ‘blogging, all the arguing, and all the up-or-down marks in the Daily Mail are irrelevant. The action is in voting.
How easy could it be! The poll workers were unfailingly polite and professional in every way, the system worked, and I was out in less than ten minutes.
There was one disappointment, though – I wasn’t given one of those nifty “I VOTED” stickers.
Well, I think that I and the Republic will both survive anyway.