Last night was poetry night. Every two weeks, I meet with seven other folks to talk about poetry. Last night, Carol was doing a presentation on A.E. Houseman. Although we were supposed to talk about poetry, the conversation kept going off on political tangents. A mention of Houseman's homosexuality led to gay marriage and the question of "is it a choice or not"; Houseman's use of the word "rue" led to what was said during the debates (Bush had said something about "rueing the day" and we went from there ...), and somehow we spent maybe 20 minutes talking about poetry and two hours talking about politics.
Whew. Now, literature often can be discussed with politics, because many writers have been politically involved. But I generally don't like talking about politics. I just don't get into it. Unlike Dan, I decidedly do not enjoy "debating." Maybe it's because I'm not good at it. Oh, I enjoy analyzing ... I like studying speeches and commentary the way I'd study poetry or other literature, looking for how the literary and rhetorical elements are or are not effective. And it's fun and enlightening to compare the rhetoric to the facts, when you can find them.
Plus, I know who I'm going to vote for. And I'm pretty certain I'm not going to change any minds in this politically polarized day and age (I have yet to meet one of these "undecided voters" I keep hearing about). And chances are that no one is going to change my mind between now and November 2. So why discuss it? The conversations end up boiling down to "Bush is a dumb evangelical zealot" and "Kerry is a smarmy liberal flip-flopper." Why can't we get back to poetry and Houseman's obsession with the transience of life? It's much more interesting. And I'm not even a big Houseman fan.
Wow. I sure started a lot of sentences in that last paragraph with the word "and."
The poetry group is a mix of political persuasions, though I'd have to say it's mostly composed of moderate to liberal Democrats with a libertarian or two thrown in. I've often marveled at how, because I tend to hang out with artists, writers, and musician types, most of my friends tend to be on the liberal side. Dan's friends are mostly conservative. It was so weird, watching the last debate with Dan's ultra-conservative friends. Quite strange not to be around people who groan and guffaw every time Bush says "nucular." (OK, so it makes me groan when he says that, but you know what I mean.)
I plan to be among the first at the polls on November 2, just like I was in 1988, voting in my first election. I didn't get to vote in 2000 because I was on the AT and completely forgot about absentee voting. That's not gonna happen this year. If you're thinking about not voting, please think again. Especially if you're female ... lots of women fought and suffered for our right to vote. Don't let their struggles be in vain. And earn yourself the right to complain if your candidate loses. :-)
OK. End of political stuff. I'd write more, but I'm falling asleep from the sheer boredom of this topic.
I promise to write more about poetry in the future.
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