Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Arlene Corwin writes

Symptoms Of Development: After An Election

One would hope that thoughts,
Their hiddenness, their essence
Are transformed into behavioral
And verbal evidence.

Take this day, two thousand sixteen;
Candidates with different pasts,
Different posts,
Different paths and values:
What they chose
And what they choose.

Flawed by dint of being human,
‘Being human’, having reason, character
That makes them what they are,
The symptoms gradual, invisible, but there,
And one so hopes that they, you, I,
All turn towards openness, transparency;
Truthfulness to one and every. i.e.
Growth through an infinity
Of ways.

 blindfolded girl sitting on a giant orange 
Hope -- George Frederic Watts

1 comment:

  1. George Frederic Watts pained "Hope" in 1886. In 1990 Jeremiah Wright preached a sermon on the subject at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago: "The woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.... a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks' greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere... And yet consider once again the painting before us... That harpist is looking upwards, a few faint tones floating upwards towards the heavens. She dares to hope ... she has the audacity ... to make music ... and praise God ... on the one string ... she has left!" Among his listeners was a young Harvard Law School student, Barack Obama, who was so deeply moved by it that he made "The Audacity of Hope" the theme of the 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address that first brought him to national attention and then as the title of his 2006 book and his successful 2008 presidential campaign.

    Wright's sermon left a great impression on Obama, who recounted Wright's sermon in detail in his memoir Dreams from My Father.[89] Soon after Dreams From My Father was published he went into politics, entering the Illinois Senate. In 2004 he was chosen to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In Obama's 2006 memoir The Audacity of Hope, he recollects that on being chosen to deliver this speech, he pondered the topics on which he had previously campaigned, and on major issues then affecting the nation, before thinking about the variety of people he had met while campaigning, all endeavouring in different ways to improve their own lives and to serve their country.[90]

    It wasn't just the struggles of these men and women that had moved me. Rather, it was their determination, their self-reliance, a relentless optimism in the face of hardship. It brought to mind a phrase that my pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.' had once used in a sermon. The audacity of hope ... It was that audacity, I thought, that joined us as one people. It was that pervasive spirit of hope that tied my own family's story to the larger American story, and my own story to those of the voters I sought to represent.
    — Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, 2006[90]

    Obama's speech, on the theme of "The Audacity of Hope", was extremely well received. Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate later that year, and two years later published a second volume of memoirs, also titled The Audacity of Hope. Obama continued to campaign on the theme of "hope", and in his 2008 presidential campaign his staff requested that artist Shepard Fairey amend the wording of an independently produced poster he had created, combining an image of Obama and the word progress, to instead read hope.[91] The resulting poster came to be viewed as the iconic image of Obama's ultimately successful election campaign.[92] In light of Obama's well-known interest in Watts's painting, and amid concerns over a perceived dislike of the British, in the last days of Gordon Brown's government historian and Labour Party activist Tristram Hunt proposed that Hope be transferred to the White House.[52][93] According to an unverified report in the Daily Mail, the offer was in fact made but rejected by Obama, who wished to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright following controversial remarks made by Wright.[52][94]

    Hope remains Watts's best known work,[15] and formed the theme of the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Paralympics in Nagano.[95] In recognition of its continued significance, a major redevelopment of the Watts Gallery completed in 2011 was named the Hope Appeal.[96][97]


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?