Friday, September 16, 2016

Plus ca change

From the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin:
In my journey to Boston this year [1754] I met at New York with our new Governor, Mr. Morris... 
One afternoon in the height of this public quarrel we met in the street. "Franklin," says he, "you must home with me and spend the evening; I am to have some company that you will like," and, taking me by the arm, he led me to his house. In gay conversation over our wine after supper he told us jokingly that he much admired the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government, requested it might be a government of blacks, as then, if he could not agree with his people, he might sell them. One of his friends, who sat next to me, says, "Franklin, why do you continue to side with these damned Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The proprietor would give you a good price."
"The Governor," says I, "has not yet blacked them enough." He, indeed, had labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages, but they wiped off his coloring as fast as he laid it on and placed it in return thick upon his own face; so that finding he was likely to be negrofied himself, he as well as Mr. Hamilton grew tired of the contest and quitted the government.
Here you have both a variation on "electing a new people" and the present practice of calumniating a stubborn majority. May our governor take his blackening and quit his government too.


Eighth of November

Where were you, when the dam gave way?
What did you do on that glorious day?

Before--we were young--they took us aside
On our blank faces they etched their dull lies

All history's sins were ours to atone
We'd reap Equality, from passion sown

Like Soviet farmers we took to the task
Redoubling our efforts with every collapse

We told our own children, to prove their good worth
Endure the hateful, the dim, the wretched of Earth

These they brought to us, admonishing still
We could never really settle this bill

And when those good people, presumed so meek
Demonstrate the strong and cruel rule the streets

Sacking your homes, defiling your daughters
This too is your blame; on with the slaughter!

Where were you, when the dam gave way?
Did you feel that, like some cosmic sway?


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