A Rock

The following poem was my reaction to the Kent State Shootings in 1970.  It is yet another sonnet ( I seem to have written a lot of them).  If I were writing the poem today, I would make the secret urge line more ambiguous, and I would make the link to Kent State more explicit.  ( The shooters at Kent State were National Guardsmen, not police.)  But on reflection, I think the little verse does a good job of focusing on the right issue.

                     A Rock

A rock – no harmless little thing to throw.
My sister’s hit me once – I have a scar.
Today, an urged-by-anger youth I know
Threw his own rock, not very far.
Not far, but hard and straight, and at a man
In blue, a man who had his job to do.
His job – to put down riots if he can,
Despite his secret urge to kill a few.

And now, the youth lies bloody-red on stone,
And all the satisfaction he had known
When he threw the rock, must ebb away.
Perhaps the man in blue did well, you say.
I say, the picture says what must be said:
One man in blue, the other: glistening red.

Money in Politics

It’s hard for most people to understand, but the only effective way to control the influence of money in politics is to limit the amount that can be spent.  Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, using logic that escapes me, has said that you can’t do that.   Given the political reality that the Burger Court’s mistaken decision is unlikely to be overturned in the near future, what is to be done?

It helps a lot if ordinary citizens contribute to the candidates of the choice.   As my late wife, Pat Wiggins, used to say: “you don’t have to have the most money, but you do have to have enough money.”   When she first ran for State Assembly in 1998, she was outspent more than 3 to 1 by two different candidates, each of whom received huge individual checks.   Pat’s largest contribution was $2000 from my father; most of her checks were quite small.  And yet she managed to scrape together about $100,000.   It was enough; she won.