Yesterday the news–at least the news I watch–was full of the new Senator from Georgia. The Reverend Raphael Warnock made his maiden speech to the Senate floor. And it was a doozy.
The speech took place on a busy news day:
A possible hate crime had taken place, killing eight Asian women in Warnock’s home state.
A surge of 250 post-insurrection voter-suppression bills were being proposed in most of the individual states.
A massive voting rights bill (The For the People Act) was being set into motion by the majority Democrats.
Warnock used his maiden address to speak in support of that bill. The bill seeks to outlaw the aforementioned efforts at voter suppression.
According to Warnock, these efforts and their predecessors have only been allowed to crop up, because of the current legislative vacuum. A vacuum which has existed, ever since the Supreme Court asked the legislature to fix the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Eight years ago.
The common wisdom is, that this new Voting Rights legislation doesn’t have a “hope” of passage, in our divided and filibuster-ized Senate.
Enter stage left, Senator Warnock.
Senator Warnock’s said, “A vote is a kind of prayer.” This phrase seemed to echo, in both word order and meter, the first line of Emily DIckinson’s classic poem, “Hope” is the thing with feathers.
In my own poem, I mimic her style. I also try to capture her sense of awe and reverence for an undervalued thing. The poem seeks to convince us, that this thing should, nonetheless, be precious to us all.
In the course of this exercise I came to realize, just how close the concept of Hope is, to the act of Voting. They are, in fact, intertwined.
Thanks for coming by to read. If you do have twenty minutes or so, I recommend a listen to Sen Warnock’s speech. As for myself, I look forward to more of the same.
May his fellow Senators feel just as inspired. And cast their own votes, upholding voting rights for all.
A “vote” is a kind of prayer–
A tiny cry for help–
A whispered wish upon the wind–
A statement of the self–
It signals stronger spirits–
The Great must hear our cry–
It sets alarm bells ringing–
With smoke that rises high–
Though eyes may wince from wishing–
And no one dares to talk–
But still, we place our silent hopes
Into that silent box.
Why strip us of our wishes?
Why silence silent prayer?
A man who’d countenance such things–
Has got no business there.
Copyright 2021 Andrea LeDew
For a poem recounting how an election, if it disappoints, can be perceived as a death, read Election Wednesday.