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Journal, Day Three

By Gillian Conoley

How now return to lecture halls:
O we who thought to cultivate this land
Have crouched like cattle in a freight;
Have scented death and lived too late;
Have whimpered as we fell between the cars;
And chance we live our sight is dull without the scars.

—Kenneth Patchen

Was that the veil shifting a little today, turning its glaucomic corners slightly in the breeze, was that Ted Kennedy piercing through? Do we still have a Constitution? Is this a day one could call new? Were these the voices heard as in a chorus?

Ted Kennedy: “Today . . . I am introducing legislation to reclaim the rightful role of Congress and the people’s right to a full voice in the President’s plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation, unless and until Congress approves the President’s plan.

“My proposal is a straightforward exercise of the power granted to Congress by Article I, section 8 of the Constitution. There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action. And Congress can demand a justification from the President for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out.

“This bill will give all Americans an opportunity to hold the President accountable for his actions . . . Congress must have a genuine debate over the wisdom of the President’s plan. Let us hear the arguments for it and against it. Then let us vote on it in the light of day. Let the American people hear––yes or no––where their elected representatives stand on one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

Tennyson as heard through the mouth of Ted Kennedy: “Come, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.’”

Nancy Pelosi: “We must have the most honest and open Congress in history.”

Joseph Lieberman: “The president has the authority under the Constitution as commander-in-chief during wartime to take decisive action. Any steps by Congress to stop Bush from sending more troops would be an extreme action in a time of war.”

Tony Snow: “Nobody is satisfied with the status quo in Iraq, including the president.”

Incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “On Thursday and Friday, we’re going to adopt rules that will change the way the people’s House operates to ensure its integrity, to ensure its openness and to ensure its transparency.”

Can we be brave enough to be even guardedly optimistic and let our shoulders inch down a little from our ears as we climb the morn into our cars and drive the hard uniform or cracked and crumbly asphalt depending upon where we live?

For some of us the measure of our love is hate…
This is our history: quivering laurels, unsown…
We plumb a rattling grave
And follow rain into the hungry drift…unknown.

Your Sophocles and Spengler please, we must rehearse
Perhaps an orchestra or words will soar the brakeman’s curse…

Then let us praise this heritage, this humble lot
Revere this God, this flag, this tommyrot.

—Kenneth Patchen

Thanks so very much for writing Stacy Davis and Jen X—and most especially with such great questions—I just now saw your comments—But Stevens will have to wait until tomorrow—it’s late, my daughter needs shuttling off to bed—We will see the Noble Rider in the morn.

And please do keep comments and questions coming, I am depending on them—

Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007 by Gillian Conoley.