A poetic answer to a question

This poem was sparked by an interviewer asking a guy beside me at the Moral Monday protest, “What is the issue that brings you here?”
Blaise Kielar, 30 June 2013

Requiem for Democracy

The forefathers did not foresee this
with such precise computer-gleaned data
that a party in power
can rig elections to remain in power,
despite the will of the people.

Winning an election grants the privilege to govern.
Winning an election by any means
does not grant the right to rule,
and certainly does not grant
the right to rule with an iron hand,
erasing constituents
by striking down
the laws of the land
and passing new laws
that favor only the favored,
only the campaign contributors,
the good old boys,
and the powerful corporations,
salivating for easy money.

When did the term “public servant” become archaic?

We must stand together.
The essence of the democratic process
is inviting all parties to the table,
honest debate
airing out all the possibilities.

When did the term “public servant” become meaningless?

Slamming the door on those who disagree,
on those who seek dialog,
on those who present an alternate view,
on those who cherish the democratic process itself –
this is the new treason,
and it is well-funded,
and rampant.

When did money become the source
and suppression the aim
of legislation?

When did the term “public servant” become a joke?

The voices of we the people, all the people,
must not be silenced.
If the leaders refuse to lead for the common good,
then the people must rise to their solemn obligation,
of, by, and for the people,
and act.

Only by choosing action
within the community
of our towns
and cities
and state
can a new consensus arise
from the ashes of destruction
to forge a new dawn.

Only then can balance be restored,
and the table will be set
for me and mine enemies.
We either pull together,
or surely
we will hang separately.


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.

One Comment

  1. JoElla

    Very well stated, Blaise.

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