Unprece(si)dented —by Jinny Batterson
(Meditations on this 2021 edition of “Presidents’ Day”)
It’s been a couple of weeks now since 45 left D.C.
I’m still not sure whether it’s safe to breathe.
This was a President who associated America with his brand,
Singed most forcefully into those least able to resist.
Early in life, he grew to resent others, so during
His term, he fueled resentments among us, gambling
That he could incite us to hate each other, rather than see
Through his redundant rhetoric of distraction.
In the farce of incompetent governance, he played his
Role to a T. Now he sulks, snarls and plays golf
At his crumbling Florida palace-by-the-sea,
As the Atlantic laps ever closer and his neighbors protest.
My coming of age in the 1960’s was punctuated by
Political assassinations–a President, a candidate,
Multiple civil rights leaders. I came partially to absorb
A mantra of the era’s aftermath: “Need leaders less.”
I do not believe we must do without leadership, but rather
That we each need to assume some small part of its
Mantle, leading from where we are. That way, we may
Be able to climb out from this slough of despond
And disunity, to continue the hard, joyous, needful
Work of reworking democracy for those coming after,
Many who know already about the hills we must climb. We can
And will rise. We will not subside into the once-shining sea.