(a found poem)
An elephant never forgets.
I remember what Abraham Lincoln said:
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure,
permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—
I do not expect the house to fall—
but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
I remember what Theodore Roosevelt said:
Moreover, it cannot too often be pointed out
that to strike with ignorant violence
at the interests of one set of men
almost inevitably endangers the interests of all.
The fundamental rule in our national life—
the rule which underlies all others—
is that, on the whole, and in the long run,
we shall go up or down together.
I remember what Ronald Reagan said:
A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us,
pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny;
that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance,
self-discipline, morality, and, above all,
responsible liberty for every individual
that we will become that shining city on a hill.
I remember what some say Patrick Henry said:
Now is the time for all good men
to come to the aid of their party.
In considering a response to the news that only four Republicans voted for a House resolution in condemnation of racist remarks by a President of the United States I thought it fitting to express some of the fundamental thinking of prominent Republicans of the past, yet I felt as strongly that I could not presume to speak for them so I went to classic sources for their own words which I adapted to my purposes. I am old enough to remember the Republican Party of the likes of a Barry Goldwater, and more recently of the likes of a John McCain. I am old enough to remember Conservatives the likes of a William F. Buckley and more recently Conservatives the likes of a Charles Krauthammer. The original Republican Party was made up mostly of abolitionists opposed to slavery in the South. In my eyes, the GOP is no more. I also remember what Elie Wiesel said: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications; His book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is a 2017 Best Book Awards and 2018 Book Excellence Awards recipient. He is co-editor of New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust forthcoming in 2020 from Vallentine Mitchell of London, publisher of the first English language edition of Anne Frank’s diary. He is listed in the Poets & Writers Directory: https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs