for my neighbor with the nobama sign

this is for you, with the sign my hands itch to take down
but don’t.  since the revolution we are no strangers
to violence, but mostly our overthrows are bloodless
& with ballots, not bullets; though Lincoln,
Garfield, McKinley & Kennedy argue one man’s idea
trumps an electoral college & the cost of difference or caprice
can be death, or war. they paid it

but this place where violence swallows speech
or speech is lost in fists cannot be my country
can it? do we need peacekeepers
to count our ballots & defend our polls?

i’ll call that swastika painted on a Denver window speech,
like the NOBAMA sign in my neighbor’s yard
& the one next door screaming SOCALISM inaccurate
in capital letters & misspelled speech

because in my town we talk politics gently,
shake heads easy as we shake hands,
smile at differences & promise to show up at polls
to cancel disagreement, but bullets through windows

or beating a man for his Romney sign
is not speech, or an issue of right or left

& again i am back to that line of blood
between voice & crime, treason

or incitement to treason

that line that is not politics but hate running loose
where guns & fists strike more pointed blows than fingers
flipping levers lightly behind drawn curtains,
such a simple thing, with more weight than blood & lead


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to for my neighbor with the nobama sign

  1. davidtrudel says:

    Yes, I was thinking of that line, the line between free speech and hate speech, between reason and mob violence, as I read this.

  2. Mama Zen says:

    I am feeling this! Excellent write.

  3. Kat says:

    Well said! I just read another post on this very issue. Seems the demise of politics is striking a chord among the people. Maybe instead of assuming they know what we want, the politicians should actually listen. And we should listen and HEAR each other.

  4. Leo says:

    I got my Obama/Biden sticker in the mail yesterday and promply put it on the rear window of my fifteen year old S10. This morning leaving to go to the drug store I told my wife, smiling,where I was going and that “maybe I won’t get shot at” She seemed to know, without explanation, what I was referring to. I didn’t tell her that I was only 1/2 kidding.

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  6. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I am feeling this poem too, very much.

    I don’t have a problem when people disagree, I just wish that disagreement could be more civil and more reasoned (if that is warranted and when that is warranted). I have a deep antipathy towards Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan but I don’t want to express that antipathy in violent language or in empty, polarizing slogans. I don’t want to demonize even though often I feel like their supporters are quick to call me stupid, un-American, a socialist, uninformed and so on. I feel like we have to have reasoned discussions if ignorance and fear are ever going to be shrunk.

    And, of course, it would help if people actually knew what the word socialism means before using it.

  7. nelle says:

    It saddens me we lost how to disagree and remain friends. Something essential to our advancement as a nation has been lost to vitriol and unchecked selves. Ted Kennedy, Alan Simpson, close friends when they served in the Senate, yet most often they disagreed. GHWB and Ted, friends as well. Bill Clinton and George, friends. This is the way it should be, not the ones who uproot opinion and shove it down its advocate’s throat.

  8. bluebee says:

    I live in Australia but watch the battle of ideologies in America with interest. Last night, I watched a fascinating TV documentary on Obama and Romney and their individual histories. And I read with open-mouthed incredulity a newspaper article on Richard Mourdock’s beliefs on pregnancy from rape and want to run for the planet screaming.

  9. The day of the extremist creeps upon a world in transition! Intolerance struts drunken and diversity is seen as a dirty word. Sad!

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  11. Lady Lovely says:

    Great post!!! I relate to insanity well…..Great post!

  12. Brilliantly written, Susan. You should run for Congress.

  13. Oh, thanks, Celestine 😉 no Congress for me…

  14. BroadBlogs says:

    So relieved Obama won!!!!

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