"For The People" (poem) >>> The Law, For It Whom?

in poetry •  last year

 

In my 50 years and 57 countries, there is one thing I've been convinced of beyond all others: That the "thin veneer of civilization" is just that ... thin. 

It's been a long haul since Athens. Making the Law has never been a problem. Keeping it .. has. 

Human beings are myopic. The most telling lesson of history, is that we don't learn from history. As Mark Twain reputedly said, "History never repeats itself, but it rhymes." We keep making the same mistakes.

The American Constitution

The American Constitution is an astonishing artifice of history. If one examines the historical records, one cannot be but amazed that it came about at all: Here's a Huffington Post account of one of the Founding Fathers' many outings: 

In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch. 

Despite a state of near-constant inebriation, they managed to cobble together the best ideas from millennium of fits and starts, and failed attempts, at Just Law. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfect enough to create the foundation of one of the most consequential countries in history. Of course, there was one imperfection so obvious that it could not, for long, go unaddressed.

To address it, America would eviscerate itself.

On a trip to Washington, D.C., I visited the Lincoln Memorial. On an interior wall is inscribed the words of Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address. I'd read it before, but something about reading it there, in that setting, brought tears to my eyes. 

Most people don't know it, but Lincoln was an avid reader of poetry, and an occasional poet as well. Long before I became a poet, I was a soldier. And, perhaps, for that reason, the words of that passage (in bold) hit me on both levels:

Wikipedia:

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. 

 And the war came. 

 When I listen to the hyperbole and vitriol of modern political discourse, I feel a sense of foreboding. 



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I study law, but yes everytime i am made to believe that laws are for fools.
Law makes me believe in equality, but i fail to find even equity.
Law tells me that we have freedom, but then why my my freedom is curbed everytime!
If we are equals, then why barriers and discrimination on the name of religion, creed and gender.
Laws were supposed to govern human behavioir, then why do certain people govern the law.
So many whys, yet no answer to them.

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Humans have rights, persons have privligies.

In the rules for the contest was a condition that no simple congratulations and phrases apply. After reading the article, I realized that I would not have been able to write such a comment seriously. What I want out, I do not know if I understood it wrong or the post is meant ironically. But calling America a successful country is very contradictory, a country that wages more wars than any other where every third person is overweight and proud of being founded on millions of dead native Americans. OK. Designating a constitution as a trick is more appropriate when one speaks of the art of enslaving people. Please do not misunderstand me, I have nothing against the Americans, because the inhabitants of the "state" are not to blame, even if they decide to become a soldier to spread democracy, they are victims. Victim of a man-made system. This is not an American problem, please note that America was founded by "Europeans". However, I have to say that I have a huge respect for all the Americans trying to put an end to the game. And that's a few. Much more than in the small European countries. That's why I still put off my hat to all those who face the truth.

Greetings Montaquila

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Maybe you are right @quillfire
Hidden within subconscious there is an insatiable desire for conflict...war is inevitable...Its a necessary evil....
Look around you, the world is on fire.
War is not about to begin, It has already started...


From Zoroastrian point of view...
The war between good and evil had always been, ever since the inception of time...
So why avoid war???
Let it be the cleanser....
To grow something new, the field must be set on fire first!

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Good points, but can we really say this in a modern context, war is actually becoming less likely as time goes on. Can we imagine France and Germany, or Spain and Portugal going to war? Not so long ago, the answer would have been yes, now it is no.

Cg

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It depends, how you define war...
May be your definition is different from those living in Syria, Palestine or Kashmir.
And what about oppressive economic war being waged upon the people ever since the creation of US Federal Reserves. All of us, the crypto believers, are fighting this war.

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@xabi,

It is not often one finds reference to Zoroastrian thought in modern political or philosophical discourse. So, thank you for the reference. While I'm familiar with the broad strokes of the Zoroastrian religion, I must plead ignorance of the details.

I am not one to ever encourage war. I've seen it, and would not wish it upon anyone or any place. With respect to your aforementioned comment, you're right ... there are many different kinds of war, figuratively speaking. Perhaps the word, coercion, better captures the intent of this discussion.

My rhetorical focus is not so much upon tank battalions (literally, war), but rather upon the preceding condition of social disharmony to the extent that nations become, essentially, dysfunctional (which, unfortunately, tends to result in tank battalions).

One of the challenges of the 21st Century will not be whether we can change each other's minds (difficult), but rather whether we can live with each other's differences (more difficult).

There's no assurance that we can.

But here's an interesting insight. Cryptogee created this challenge and very specifically instructed people to not only be honest ... but to be honorable. I have long believed that honor is the key to social harmony. He does not require that you agree with him, or me, about anything, but only that you engage in whatever the debate, honorably.

No making up your own facts so as to support your biases (which we all have). No engaging in ad hominem attacks, imputing moral turpitude upon others simply because they disagree with your political or philosophical opinions. Nobody calling others, "Nazis," unless they're actually sporting Swastikas.

If you look at the exchange or articles, comments and replies between Cryptogee and I, that resulted in this challenge, you will see that he and I disagree about some things relating to Artificial Intelligence and it's implications for humanity.

Nevertheless, it ought to be clear, that he and I grant each other enormous mutual respect. There is precisely nothing about our disagreement that would prevent us from being best friends. Quite to the contrary, steel sharpens steel ... it is precisely because neither of us can dominate the other ... that we are influencing each other.

Let that sink in.

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I have to agree with you...
Mutual respect for one another is the key...Every body can have his own opinion and should be respected...
That's how civilized world works and there is nothing noble and civilized about war...

Now I read your piece and it was quite nice... But this line from Lincoln's speech that struck a chord:
Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
Because that's precisely where my country finds itself... Leaders too old and inept to lead who you'll think after being led by the neck in chains and shipped off to suffer would finally alleviate at least a fraction of our problems... But no we the youths are left to our own devices in a country where suddenly snakes and monkeys can run off with sums most of the populace would never see in their lifetimes... And every tribe suddenly wants to have its own country, I don't understand how hard is it to fix your own shortcomings before first looking to lead others, how can hunger suddenly make one bloodthirsty and immune to reason... Well I don't understand politics but good thing I'm a poet would just keep wallowing in hunger writing for a nation that doesn't love itself much less it's people...

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@jayo,

Read through some of my other other replies in reply to Nigerian comments:

Leaders too old and inept to lead who you'll think after being led by the neck in chains and shipped off to suffer would finally alleviate at least a fraction of our problems... But no we the youths are left to our own devices in a country where suddenly snakes and monkeys can run off with sums most of the populace would never see in their lifetimes...

As I have opined, no country can survive institutional corruption ... and Nigeria has a lot of it.

And every tribe suddenly wants to have its own country ...

Tribalism. People are defining themselves by their In-Groups. Not as individuals who have to earn respect through merit. You and I are both poets. What makes a great poem for you, is the same as it is for me, and it has nothing to do with your skin color, religion or tribe.

What makes our poems great, or not, is our respective ability to beautifully craft words that express an idea, ideal or insight ... that someone cares about. Nothing else makes a wit's worth of difference. Poetry is a meritocracy. And so is being an accountant or an architect or an engineer. Anytime someone gets a job or a promotion ... or gets elected ... based upon anything other than merit, it hurts Nigeria as a whole.

Tribal history, and having pride in one's roots, isn't a bad thing. I can trace my family lineage back almost 1,000 years. I am proud of my clan (I posted a poem about it, "From Whence That You Came:"

https://steemit.com/thealliance/@quillfire/thealliance-you-are-not-quite-desirable-for-our-society-my-response-from-whence-that-you-came-poem

to teach my daughter about the standards to which she and I are to hold ourselves. This is little different, in motivation, than the traditions and rituals than many Nigerians practice to celebrate their ancestral history.

But with, 200+ tribes, Nigeria is riven with competing interests that have nothing to do with, "What's best for the country?" Political Correctness stops people from speaking honestly and honorably about the issue as Post-Colonial Guilt has paralyzed White People from criticizing, or even critiquing, anything about Black People. But how do you think outside investors, with the capital Nigeria so desperately needs to develop, view this ever-shifting patchwork of competing alliances? "Instability, unpredictability, uncertainty ... RISK" ... are the words that come first to my mind.

If Nigeria (and many other African countries), wants to survive in the present, it will have to live in the present. And that means "Best Man/Woman for the Job" irrespective of tribal affiliation.

Great work here. I really like what you have put together and you elicit some stirring thoughts. Throughout the whole campaign in 2016 I watched with horror at what was going on between the candidates. There were many times I thought "this, this is what is going to make people realize he shouldn't be President". I knew I could be wrong though because also in the back of my head was this nagging feeling that people are okay with this. There are a lot of people that don't care or are willing to look past it. Then he was elected and all of the uproar began. People talking about how long it would take before he was impeached etc. My thoughts then were "you can't." Although he didn't win the popular vote, he won enough that if he were to be forced out, there would be civil war in our country. I don't have a fix for all of this, I wish I did. I think setting term limits and outlawing corporate lobbying would be a great start though. I think those things could be easily done without changing the heart of the Constitution. That is just my opinion though.

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@bozz,

As a political centrist, I watched the unfolding of the 2016 election in something akin to incredulity. "These ... are the two choices?" I can't tell you how many times I heard someone say, "I don't want to vote for either one." In fact, although I wasn't keeping tabs, I'd guess 75% of the comments were in that vein.

My take on the election is that Trump was not chosen per se, nor was Clinton defeated per se.

I think the electorate chose sides in an underlying culture war.

Almost all the same issues that are dividing the US, are dividing the UK, Canada and Australia. They're also effecting much of western and eastern Europe. Despite having lived in the US for 26 years, I'm a Canadian citizen (Green Card) so I couldn't vote. But I talk as much politics as anyone, and more than most.

What I was struck by was the frequency of comments concerning things about which the politicians weren't talking, or at least, not to any great extent. One women called it Millennial Madness:

  1. The insanity of political correctness that has overtaken American universities (safe spaces and trigger warnings);
  2. The suppression of Freedom of Speech by the far-Left by no-platforming people with whom they disagree;
  3. Euphemisms and ad hominem attacks paralyzing the ability to engage is mainstream political discourse without being branded with a term connoting moral turpitude (misogynists, sexists, racists, homophobes, transphobes, bigots, fascists and, of course, Nazis);
  4. Identity politics and intersectionality at every turn;
  5. People on the Left wearing t-shirts openly supporting Marxism complete with Hammer & Sickle.

But here's the thing: Many of the aghast I spoke with were Democrats who voted for Obama both times! Center and center-left moderates. All were university-educated and several held advanced degrees. And, most voted for Trump or abstained from voting.

In my opinion, the inability, or unwillingness, of the far-Left to engage is civil and reasoned discourse is what lost them centrist swing-voters, and hence the election. Clinton and Trump were merely symbolic figureheads of a much deeper divide in the body politic.

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I don't disagree with you on some of your points. You will probably be dismayed to know that I really wanted Bernie though. The two options offered were horrible and as much as they try to tell you voting independent is not throwing away your vote I think we all know the reality. Your comment about political correctness is spot on though. A quick glance at the comments on any Yahoo news story will show the divide and the ability of people these days to degrade any subject down to race or bias. I read a great article a while ago called The Wussification of America. I wish I could find it again to reference it. It was pretty telling. Thanks for the reply to my comment!

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Technically it wasn't throwing away your (our) votes, because no matter what state you are from, a vote for Hilary would not have won her the election. I voted 3rd party, but my next best option was not voting, so I find it ironic that anyone would blame anything on third party voters. (Any blame must assume what would have been done if that third party vote was not cast, in my case, I would have not paid the postage to mail it in).

I think a little differently about US politics now that I live off continent, but I believe that the implied two-party system is one of the deep (unconstitutional) tap roots of the problems in the US.

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@ecoinstant,

You know who was against political parties of any kind: George Washington. And John Adams. And Thomas Jefferson (until he threw in the towel prior to his own Presidency).

The Constitution was carefully designed to balance interests and loyalties. There is no provision for the "extra layer of loyalties" afforded to political parties. Indeed, getting away from political parties was one of the driving forces for choosing a Republic-style of democracy over a Parliamentarian one.

Although it won't happen, what I'd like to see is the leadership of the Republicans and Democrats get together and agree to, at the stroke of midnight, simultaneously disavow their respective looney-toon fringe elements. Drive the nutcases out of both parties. This way, both parties would be equally disadvantaged by the votes they'd lose, and hence the balance of power maintained.

We've got to get back to normal political discourse between the Center-Right and Center-Left ... sane Republicans and sane Democrats respectively.

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@bozz,

Personally, I think Bernie had a bit of a math problem ... how to pay for all his ideas. (You might be surprised to learn that I, a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, would support a National Healthcare system ... although I'd want some fixes first (Singapore has got an interesting model to study). Nevertheless, Bernie was the most honest and honorable person in the race, and honesty and honor go a long way with me.

The "political correctness police" are using PC as a tool of coercion and it's shutting down honest debate, the lifeblood of any democracy. The explosion of euphemism is an especially pernicious development. Once you control words, you control ideas.

Thanks for the great comment.

Meaningful poetry. Really this tells like the law was blunted up but very sharp down.
Even in my country it can be felt, the monarchs who have money can buy the law, even if it has been proven wrong he can still enjoy the world with calm, what kind of gold he has until the law was subject to him. Things like this make us angry at the state officials, so easy they sell justice for a little gold. I think every country has a rat like this now, it's like a public secret. Advice of the ancestors was ruled out, who cares that the country will be destroyed if the law does not learn from history, they know how to collect many treasures.
Many things happen on this earth, injustice becomes commonplace for the poor.
I did not know much about the American constitution, but I think historical deception does not only happen in America, but many countries feel it. When reading an article like this I feel completely useless, because it can only be silent.

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@putroeal,

When reading an article like this I feel completely useless, because it can only be silent.

Putroeal, look at this post and it's comments and replies. By the end of this week, we may well have set a record for the longest and most numerous exchanges in the history of Steemit.

This is not silence.

We fix the world one piece at a time. It can be frustrating because the problems seem so large. But a large thing, broken into many smaller pieces, makes the burden more manageable, doesn't it?

The American Constitution is an example, despite its historical imperfections, of how countries can govern themselves. It was a stroke of genius, implemented by men unafraid of plagiarizing the past - learning from it, lessons.

Study it. Learn from it. Copy it.

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Hopefully we can really fix this. I see if in the america his free society opinion without fear, but in my country it is very difficult, if there are netizens commented on social media offensive officials then the netizen could have in demand for smearing good name and others. I and probably other people have lost their minds with the law.

Hi, here is my two cents. As a nation we have a severe inability to work through conflict. This is exacerbated by two powerful political parties, which is pulling everything apart at the seams. It seems every corporate entity has an alliance with one of the two parties, and toes the party line. Many are just checking out of the news cycle, frustrated with the lack of objectivity. What if we passed a law to level the playing field politically?
I propose that every presidential election would have to involve at least three parties, and that for every dollar a specific candidate spends on election efforts, they would have to give a dollar to each of the other two candidates. In this way, a wealthy Donald Trump would have the same amount of money as Joe the Plumber. There are many worthy people who are not wealthy or connected to the wealthy. As for the conflict, we need to learn to disagree without demonizing each other and ad hominem attacks. I would welcome more debates, but debates where the microphone is CUT at the end of their time, the sound goes dead whether they are "done" or not. Perhaps a graphic on the screen could score the debate based on real debate rules, not just who fires the best insults. For all this the USA is still an amazing place to live. We have a lot to improve on, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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@giddyupngo,

As for the conflict, we need to learn to disagree without demonizing each other and ad hominem attacks. I would welcome more debates, but debates where the microphone is CUT at the end of their time, the sound goes dead whether they are "done" or not.

I would watch the debates JUST to see their mics get CUT!

For all this the USA is still an amazing place to live. We have a lot to improve on, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

That's the perfect attitude. I'm with you.

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Thanks, your reply made me smile!

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@nosmas,

Not to quibble, but Mark Twain is one of my literary heroes.

"History never repeats itself, but it rhymes."

I'm with Mark. :-)

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History doesn't actually repeat,
but if you look closely it is repleat
with clear examples from all throughout time
showing how the human condition rhymes.

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@ecoinstant,

BRAVO ... Sir! Bravo.

Although, I feel honor-bound to warn you ... this is how it starts.

First a quippy little poem on a post. Then, a few stanzas for your wife on your Anniversary. Your daughter gets straight A's ... well, since she put in the time, so will you.

Girls are suckers for a well-written poem and once you've set a precedent, they'll expect every time. And this is where Mission Creep kicks into over-drive: Now it's not just Anniversaries, but Birthdays, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ironically, you will be the only one who never receives a single poem in your entire life.

Before you know it, you'll be driving down the road while scribbling with your free hand, "butt-crack & roof-rack," because you haven't used them before ... and surely you'll be able to use them for something." Gotta stay fresh.

End-of-Year poems for the teachers, eulogies for the deceased ...

You have been warned! :-)

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I am already getting sucked in! It's a lot of fun to find someone like you with 15 years of experience making rhymes, I have only been rhyming part-time for a few years, although now with steemit as a place to put them, I have been writing more.

Mission Creep; I never knew it affected poetry, but it does make a lot of sense. Your example about women is particularily apt, although all humans have 'floating' expectations that seem to pop up just above the prevailing water line, it's particularily noticeable when a man wants to keep impressing the same woman.

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A job well done. LOL if I was @cryptogee I would reward this comment instantly. I sadly do not have the poetic skills (at least not that I am aware of) displayed here, and thus I will have to resort to other means of procuring myself some ❤️️ ...

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@dialsamai,

Thanks mate. Practice makes perfect. It's taken me 15 years so far.

Well technically this isn't poetry, it's more like a political article. Still great by the way. Here have a worthless upvote.☺

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@eddy2cul,

I'll take it where I can get it. :-)

The vitriol of anything even vaguely political is at a fever pitch. Even going back to the days before the Revolution, I think men were able to gather in the taverns and heatedly discuss and argue the pros and cons of revolution without as much animosity as felt even between a group of friends discussing politics today. There is zero tolerance for a dissenting opinion. Sadly, in the interest of keeping friendships, all things political must be given a wide berth.

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Would you agree that the berth is even wider here than on the legacy platforms like Facebook and YouTube? - The reasons I see now is for friendship sake as you put it. I had assumed it was a profit margin (I am quite a cynic).

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@trumanity,

Sir, I would encourage your skepticism ... I would discourage your cynicism.

@old-guy-photos is my Mentor. Without him, it is unlikely I would, after a month, still be on Steemit ... despite a philosophical inclination to "Never Surrender."

@old-guy-photos, (his name is Paul, and so is mine, and I encourage everyone to address me, and him, as so), has spent ridiculous amounts of time explaining to me the most rudimentary aspects of Steemit. If he doesn't think I'm a moron, he ought to.

As you can probably imagine, the length of my comments and replies, to say nothing of my posts, created daily bandwidth-freezes. Often, I could not post or respond until 3 PM in the afternoon. Unbidden, Paul simply delegated me 50 SP ... which solved the problem overnight. He's also the guy who connected me to Cryptogee.

What exactly he gets out of this, is still unclear to me. I wrote a comment to another such fellow, @C0ff33a, who Paul also introduced to me (and who is also a Paul protegee). I think you should read the article ... and my comments to it:

https://steemit.com/vlog/@c0ff33a/c0ff33-vlog-24th-february-2018-one-ring-to-rule-them-all

While you're at it (look for my comments ... this one's fun):

https://steemit.com/whysoserious/@old-guy-photos/of-flowers-and-beards

And this one's serious:

https://steemit.com/mmorpg/@fulltimegeek/steem-quest-1-or-slay-the-cave-troll

There is hope, so long as there are Good Men in the world. THERE ARE ... still Good Men in the world.

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I think people here are somewhat forced to be civil. I have been active on YT where there is basically anonymity, and therefore anything goes. Of course on FB people are supposed to use their real identity. The prospect of flagging has a way of making people think twice before shooting off with their keyboards lol.

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Ha! I never thought about the anonymity - that is probably a large factor. I wasn't thinking about plain youtube rudeness or trolling, just the expression of political opinion, though. It is very hard to find a political blog post trending here.

What really got me in this was the fact that these 55 atleast had an idea of what they want for the country maybe in the process of carving it out there were flaws but in third world countries today, like the one i live in, the urge to be free from the colonial master so clouded oir judgements that the foundation was skipped and what we have is trying to build on no foundation, civilisation though has given us a picture of how things are to work and i hope we will get there...

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@gjoeohere,

My friend, I spent several years in Africa, and I have a very special place in my heart for the continent and its people.

... the urge to be free from the colonial master so clouded oir judgements that the foundation was skipped and what we have is trying to build on no foundation ...

Your comments strike me as being particularly insightful.

In terms of resources, Africa is an extraordinarily rich continent and its people ought to be among the wealthiest on Earth. But, it is riddled with corruption and poor governance. The result is a cycle of creation and destruction that never ends. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the remnants of colonialism. But such explanation has been being used as an excuse for too long. Almost all of Africa's current problems are self-inflicted.

From my observations, Africa is besought by tribalism (either ethnic, religious or both). Groups of people within a country are subject to unearned patronage, or precluded from it, based upon their membership in a preferred In-Group. This creates severe dysfunction (and unending war). A meritocracy must be established. A effective system of political checks-and-balances simply does not exist. This limitation of power was the genius of the American Constitution. Central to the beliefs of the Founding Fathers was the idea that Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. And so, they were paranoid about building-in safeguards to ensure accountability. This was an idea they copied from the Romans who, alas, ultimately did not adhere to their own Laws.

I would be interested to hear if you have and ideas about how to go about changing things.

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I personally disagree with the narative that nepotism and tribalism is the bane of african politics because if it were so then the people of a particular tribe should enjoy the fruits of democracy when the have the power, say nothern Nigeria for instance that has the presidency should be the ones that benefits the most from the government but far be it because am so sure that they are still the most neglected so i term the problem of Africa as simply "greed" which has degenerated to what we now see as coruption and until we have a value re-orientation where we will have a selfless Nelson mandela, a chaste Desmond Tutu and a nationalist in Obafemi Awolowo who will put the continent above self, another force rising up now is the cry for youth to take over but why and for what purpose when they have all been schooled by the same people that crumbled the continent? It is almost a hopless situation but am sure if we can change one, then we can change all.

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@gjoehere,

There are numerous comments on THIS post from Nigerians. They seem to disagree with your assessment.

To try to be fair to your comment, I Googled ... Nigeria tribalism ... (without quotation marks). The following hyperlink was the FIRST website article that appeared:

http://www.gamji.com/article6000/news7267.htm

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In the second paragraph of that article he listed three probable causes of tribalism and greed was among.
Am not saying coruption or tribalism is not an issue or that they are non existent but something led to that and i feel it is greed, i may be wrong but if there is coruption or tribalism which there are, what led to that?
Thats what think greed is responsible for.

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@gjoeohere,

That's fair. Greed, I suppose, is the gasoline in the car of corruption, isn't it?

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Affirmative that is why i still think we need a character and value re-orientation because even this week i heard a young man saying if he gets the opportunity he will steal his own lot not minding who it affects because he will just be one among the numerous.

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I do think it is interesting, all of the hope (around the world) in the young generation. Surely there are wise and insightful young people (perhaps we, the ones passionately discussing on steemit are the ones!), but there are plenty of non-thinking get-alongers in the next generation as well.

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Sure just as there is in every generation but the task before us now is, are we going to let them get ahead of us while we just sit and think our lives away? The time for thinkers and actors beckons

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@gjoeohere,

The answer is not complicated. Nigeria is not special. Your country is immensely wealthy. What's crippling Nigeria is the same thing that has crippled countless others throughout history ... corruption.

It is not more complicated than that.

When you elect someone who is Yoruba, simply because you're Yoruba .. or Igbo, simply because you're Igbo ... then the problem perpetuates itself.

To compete in the modern world requires a meritocracy. A meritocracy requires that you elect the best man, or woman, for the job. The same logic applies to all jobs.

At present, is Nigeria doing this?

Bad government cannot be overcome. Great government is a pipe dream.

Good government is what any country strives for ... and must settle for.

The time for thinkers and actors beckons

You are 100% correct.

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I believe we can be the future of the world and which country did you visit again?

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@gjoeohere,

I did not 'visit' any country ... I lived there.

I was in the military and was stationed in Djibouti. We got around.

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Waoh....thanks for your service!!

That poem was incredible, a wild trip through history and I had no idea where it was going but there at the end it just grabbed me, God bless America. Damn near brought a tear to my eye.
Well Doctor, what have we got?
I was concerned about resteeming just anything to enter a contest but I would gladly resteem that.

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@funbobby51,

Damn near brought a tear to my eye.

That's music to a poet's ear.

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin

A brilliantly apt quote ... Why didn't I think of that?

Thanks, again, for the generous compliments on the poem. It means a lot.

In my 50 years and 57 countries

57 countries !?! Woah, that's mental, what's the longest you have stayed in one place?

Another great post, I feel the same sense of foreboding you did as I read those words. However to me, it seems that things are very different now, technology has changed us in more ways than scientific advancements and thinner TVs.

In my humble opinion, the invention of the internet, and now the rise and rise of the blockchain, has given a kind of power to the people that has never been seen before.

In times gone by, we just simply accepted war as an inevitable consequence of the human condition. Not so now, and in addition to that, the rhetoric fed to us about our enemies and our allies came from one or two official sources.

Nowadays a 16 year old kid can film a major incident happening, and within moments it will be on Twitter seen by perhaps millions. The nature of the war is changing, and I'm not quite sure yet how to feel about it.

Cg

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@cryptogee....
I agree the advent of internet and the rize of blockchain is revolutional...
While the plethora of information flowing around us is good and we have managed to avoid the spoon-fed media, it's also equally confusing. Sometimes its difficult to decide which version and whose version is correct...

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@xabi,

I'm equally frustrated with the reliability of information sources. I don't have a solution.

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The internet is the ocean. Now we just need to train the sailors better.

I am working on a class called 'how to use the internet'. Here in my rural, developing community, the internet has arrived, on cell phones, and people are happy! They are chatting and connecting and are very aware of facebook and whatsapp.

But it doesn't go much further than that. When they learn about wikipedia, coursera, edx and dozens of other tools and websites available online, they get really excited all over again. Of course everything on the internet needs to be parsed, interpreted and understood through the right filter based on where it comes from and who it is for.

Training and education is the solution.

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@ecoinstant,

Great insight.

wikipedia, coursera, edx and dozens of other tools and websites available online, they get really excited all over again.

The Internet has the ability to dramatically impact developing countries. What would be incredible is if coursera, edx, etc. could figure out a way to grant "course credits" so that people could prove they possess the knowledge they claim. That way they could "capitalize" their knowledge.

The American Constitution is an astonishing artifice of history.

Has there ever been a meeting of so many geniuses at one time together, before this?
Or since....

Anyone that doesn't appreciate the beauty, the intelligence, the vision of this work they forged, - either needs to educate themselves...or be aware of their intellectual limitations...

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@lucyreloaded,

I would upvote this to the MAX if I had the power. Instead, you've got my 1.5 cents and a Follow. :-)

People need to study history.

Humanity is a nasty business, and the thing that saves us from each other, is subtle.

The American Constitution was a quantum leap forward in the ability of humans to govern themselves. They begged, borrowed and stole from the models that came before. Pride of originality, was not their concern. The balancing of power, such that conflicts would be resolved with words instead of swords, was sublime, and nothing short of genius. Their inability to achieve perfection, and the price to be paid for their short-coming, was the subject of my poem.

Very interesting post! That is a lot to think about.

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My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read. — Abraham Lincoln
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@bitpizza,

That is a lot to think about.

That's all one can ever ask.

Nice quote from the big guy.

I read thru your post @quillfire, and then was so intrigued, I felt compelled to read through all of the comments as well. I must say that I loved your poem; it is so well written, with extraordinarily appropriate word choice, tone and multi-layered semantics. My brain was going in a million different directions by the time I was finished.

I too, " When I listen to the hyperbole and vitriol of modern political discourse, [ I] feel a sense of foreboding. Often "money" or "greed" become the scapegoats for conflict, but in the end, I think the problem often boils down to intolerance of others...political views, religion, sexuality etc. But I guess not simply intolerance, but the need to expect others to change to coincide with what was at one time, a popular viewpoint. The US has obviously changed over the years, but maybe not so much after all. Sure it was a country where immigrants were welcomed; but was it really? It doesn't take too much searching to find many examples of inequity in history. Like you stated somewhere in these comments, "steel sharpens steel", but that seems to be an ideal at best, and definitely an idea that, for a million reasons, can't or won't be adopted there. And I think in the end, that is a huge disservice to the country as a whole; the idea that two opposing beliefs cannot only coincide, but can together create something new and amazing, or at the very least, simply agree to disagree.

Like you stated in the comments "The United States is the only country in human history founded not upon the realities of geography or culture or language ... but rather, upon ideas, ideals and insights." When the makeup of population as a whole continues to change and be all-inclusive(supposedly), but the expectation of the original "ideas, ideals and insights" remains the same, then conflict naturally occurs, with unfortunately no conclusion or remedy in sight.

Thank you so much for a thought provoking post here; I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Master Piece of Poetry :) Awesome Thanks For Sharing. I love your work.

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@poetsunit,

Everyone has an ego, myself included. So, I hope you'll forgive me for really, really liking the words ... "Master Piece of Poetry!" :-)

For any poets out there, PoetsUnited (@poetsunit), is THE Group and Discord Channel for you to join. Good people doing good things.

@angelveselinov, @poetrybyjeremy (lives in a Crusader Castle in Malta & has Conquest issues) and @madevi will take care of you.

Whales and Dolphins ... Steemit is about words articulating ideas, ideals & insights. Nevertheless, the term "Starving Poet" is an axiom for a reason.

Even Shakespeare required patrons ... first the Lord Chamberlain, and then the King.

Although James VI of Scotland was proclaimed king of England on March 24, 1603, it took him over a month to arrive in London. Within ten days of his arrival there, and despite the fact that the theaters were closed due to plague, he gave instructions for turning the Lord Chamberlain's Men, of which Shakespeare was a member, into the King's Men.

From the moment of enrollment, Shakespeare and the other players listed -- Lawrence Fletcher, Richard Burbage, Augustine Phillipps, John Hemings, Henry Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, Richard Cowley, "and the rest of their associates" -- were under the patronage of the king. According to the warrants and letters patent, after "the infection of the plague shall decrease," the players were free to perform at the Globe and throughout the country "for the recreation of our loving Subjects," as well as for the king's "solace and pleasure when we shall thinke good to see them."

http://www.shakespearedocumented.org/exhibition/document/king-james-establishes-kings-men-warrant-under-privy-seal

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.... the rest is commentary.

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@offgridlife,

Amazingly, or perhaps not, almost every major world religion came up with that aphorism verbatim. An insight so obvious that it is impossible to miss. And yet, so few do it.

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Agreed.

As long as the category of man and the people apply to a chosen few, then I look with suspicion on the ideal of equality. Equality itself doesn't escape a shaky assumption: that divisions are not only necessary but inevitable between classes of people. Those classes are social constructed, yet the laws at best do a weak job of creating a egalitarian playing field, and at worst they seem to write the divisions further into near-permanent existence. South Africa is a valid example of this.. instead of fundamentally altering the economy, the laws have written further into a sort of permanence the racial categories from Apartheid. I am extremely suspicious of law and lawyers for this reason.

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@trumanity,

South Africa is an interesting case of the Road to Hell being paved with good intentions.

Like Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) before it, transition from White Power to Black Power resulted in reverse discrimination an an exodus of the white populace ... and with them: their money, knowledge and skills. So who benefited? Poverty and crime has since increased dramatically in both countries, both formerly quite wealthy countries.

This had, and has, nothing to do with whiteness or blackness. It has to do with Power and the inevitability that once obtained, in begins to corrupt. As I've mentioned elsewhere in my replies, the genius of the American Constitution stems from this realization by the American Founding Fathers. Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. And so, not trusting themselves or each other, they built-in an elaborate system of checks-and-balances to ensure that no person, or group of people, could become too powerful. They then empowered The Press so as to ensure that the System Itself would be constantly scrutinized from the outside. They were paranoid.

Democracy, especially American style, is an extremely inefficient form of government. It takes a long time to get anything done. But such inefficiency was a price the American Founding Fathers were willing to pay to achieve the effect... preventing power consolidation. The only exception they made was to grant the President near-complete military command in times of war. This is a lesson they learned from the Romans.

In South Africa, like so many other African countries, one form of tyranny replaced another. Ditto the French Revolution. Ditto every experiment with Communism. Once the revolutionaries were in power, they became as bad, or worse, than that which they had overthrown.

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A form of tyranny has replaced the old one, you're right. But you're wrong about there being any experiment with communism in South Africa. Mandela's regime saw to it that an elite would benefit from the same old system, while the government talked social recon-everything under the sun, but none of it happened. The current president Ramaphosa worked closely with Mandela until turning to business. As a shareholder of Lonmin mine, when workers went on strike, he ordered the police to fire on them, killing close to 100 34 and injuring 78 striking miners. Socialism would have addressed the great disparities, but what has emerged is race being used as a football to placate the poor with cosmetic changes and promises that didn't materialise. What is happening now is Mandela's party is caving in to a wave of popular socialist nationalism, in a desperate effort to cling to power and continue it's system of rule by patronage. None of it good.

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I once heard the situation in South Africa described thusly:

Imagine you have been part of a football game whereby the other team had been allowed to cheat. It is now half time and you are losing 46-0. It has been announced that the game is now going to be played fairly.

So, do you simply start playing the game fairly; or do you let the team that has been cheated catch up?

At the moment, we are in the catching up phase.

Pretty powerful words in my opinion; and very hard to come up with a fair argument against it.

Over to you gentlemen :-)

Cg

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I think the analogy you shared pretty much sums up the 'new dispensation' - it is the unstated roadmap given for a process of change in the 'new South Africa'. I believe South Africans have all-but accepted this dispensation, and that is at the root of our problem. It is based on an unsound analysis of our situation, it is one which was ushered in by compromises.

The ANC has always embraced the idea that our problem was a racial one and that non-racialism (the new jargon for the old idea of 'breaking the colour-bar') was the panacea to our problem. They are in an alliance of convenience with Trade Unions and the Communist Party, but in essence the ANC and it's alliance are hard-core capitalist and Nationalist. Ramaphosa himself, (a former trade unionist/'socialist'/capitalist).

If any person wonders about the South African 'wonder' - how there no bloodshed during the revolution, the answer is 'because there was no revolution'.

You see, @cryptogee - the idea of revolution in our situation is not to end up with two teams, but one team. It is only then that an individual can grow up feeling he or she is part of a nation. The teams I think the analogy makes reference to is black and white. That idea has it that when we see more people of color in the elite group/playing in the match, then we have achieved change and nationhood perhaps. This is non-racialism. It is not going to suffice because the real teams are the 70% of the nation that is landless, poor, and insecure vs the 30% enjoying varying degrees of security which are way better than the 70%. If those are the teams we are examining, the score is still 46-0 after more than 20 years of a new dispensation. The gap is widening, while the security and employment, education, health, etc.

You see, for me, the analogy is accurate but it describes a terrible situation; one where we are accepting an argument which to me is unacceptable viz. that to rectify the wrongs of the past, we should continue doing what the culprits did in the past. The game has to change, not just the players. (my apologies for the lengthy comment).

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@cryptogee,

Excellent metaphor. But he's got an excellent rejoinder too.

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@trumanity,

Excellent comment. Well-written, ideas well-articulated and ... edited. I'm out-of-my-depth respecting the details you articulate about current South African politics, so, I demur.

I quick correction: I did not mean to infer that South Africa had experimented with communism.

In South Africa, like so many other African countries, one form of tyranny replaced another. Ditto the French Revolution. Ditto every experiment with Communism. Once the revolutionaries were in power, they became as bad, or worse, than that which they had overthrown.

I was drawing a comparison with other world revolutions, and the subsequent behavior of the revolutionaries, once they took power. My reference to "communism" was in reference to the Soviet Union, China, East-Bloc countries, etc.

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Sir, thank you for your compliment which I think are not due to me for my error in interpreting your initial response - after reading your first response a second time, I realised that I had misread it quite seriously. You were not suggesting South Africa is an example of a communist revolution.

On further consideration, it seems less relevant that a revolution was violent one or bloodless, led by nationalism with or without socialist leanings, with an effort to insert constitutional checks and balances, etc. does it? It may be true that every revolution is led with the best of intentions, but what is it that allows the ideal to go so wrong? I am still pretty much a dialectical materialist when it comes to answering this question. The struggle never ends and if we think it has, it may be then that the greed and corruption starts to set in. Mandela in a few of his statements indicated that people ought to remain vigilant. Having some constitutional framework, a strong independent judiciary, goes some distance hopefully, to shortening that Long walk to freedom. Let's wait and see what happens in South Africa.

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@trumanity,

No problem about the misread ... it happens.

Dialectical Materialist, huh? That's the heart of Marxist thought and it has proved pretty unsuccessful at predicting social or political development anywhere.

The problem with Marxism and related philosophies is that they simply can't get good with the realities of humanity. They try to reason their way into utopia using metaphors that simply don't apply to human psychology.

The ancient Greeks talked about the metaphor of the phase transformation of water from liquid to gas. You heat it, heat it, heat it with no change ... but then, PRESTO, at some critical moment, it transforms into a gas, the same molecule but with radically different properties. Marx. and the communist regimes that would adopt his ideas, loved using this metaphor to explain how societies could suddenly transform from "base capitalists" into "socialist utopias."

And yet it never happened. Anywhere.

Humans are humans and they have a stubborn tendency to "revert to the mean" (to biological imperatives) ... that's why "history never repeats, but it rhymes."

There are universal human characteristics that are hard-wired and this limits the degree to which we can change.

Leftists hate this. Their worldview is based upon viewing human beings "as they could be" rather than human beings "as they are."

You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

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Thanks for the reply - I see we start from diverse points of view. Yours, perhaps idealism and determinism - mine, historical materialism. I don't believe we are born as sows ears, our conditions turn us into that and can equally have us become silk. I have reached this conclusion from seeing how those born into privilege are all-but-guaranteed to live lives of comfort, while those born into poverty are condemned to stay there regardless of how hard they attempt to get out. It is these conditions which lead to revolution - ask the Americans living under British rule about that - it become insufferable, they revolted - Revolution isn't a bad word for me, but each revolution can be judged in terms of history and the gains which were achieved for the society as a whole.

I have really enjoyed the exchanges, SIr - and look I forward to many more.

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@trumanity,

I am a Canadian (so still part of the British Commonwealth) and so I learned a different perspective on the causes of the American Revolution ... although to be fair, Americans scholars have become a lot more honest in the past 30 years.

Americans WERE NOT living in intolerable conditions under the British. Even the famous "Tea Tax" that helped spark the Revolution, left Americans paying less for Tea than Londoners.

What drove Americans nuts, and rightly so, was lack of direct political representation in the British Parliament. In this sense, they were "second-class citizens."

To be fair to the British, the logistical nightmare of having direct political representation for colonies 2-3 weeks (in the best-case-scenario) away by sailing ship, would have been insoluble.

Mercantilism also played a big part. By restricting Americans from trading with non-British entities severely inhibited their economy ... leading to dramatically different economic interests and massive law-breaking (smuggling).

With respect to the "cow's ear" thing, let's be careful about making moral inferences based upon singular analogies.

I do not believe humans are born being "sow's ears." I believe human beings are born being human beings ... and that entails a lot of hard-wired biology that cannot be overcome with political platitudes.

People work harder for their own self-interests than they do for some nebulous concept of the State. "Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely." If you accept these premises about human beings, as I do, you design a dramatically different society than that envisioned by Marx.

Honestly am not a good historian.but I must say that war is inevitable for a desired outcome. It's either being lead or leading for personal interest which we want,those seeing what glory lies ahead wouldn't want to share the spoils equally, wouldn't want to rub shoulders evenly so the law comes into play. To put at bay the strong physically but protect the strong mentally to keep in line with thier interest and keep the strong physically under thier feet. Making their selves stronger and building an impenetrable castle,with the physically strong and yet enslaving them to be at peace when actually they are in the middle of a cold choas war. When I began reading this article it struck my mind that the poor adhere to the law and the richest make the law to suit them from bridging the gap between the poor. The origin of the law I presume was for fairness and equity but I wonder if it lost its taste or its just a cooking pot. Wars will come and go in different forms but who is willing to let go for peace. let's ponder on the tower of Babel of old on this it will never end for all will match for a just course to achieve a sole aim but different languages different culture different races how possible will it be to merge them? Thus the law imperfect but perfect in a way to avert total colossal damage.

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Most constitutions are borne out of the current happenings at that time without considering the future and leaving some life in jeopardy...

I believe laws are made by men and meant to guide men and not for men to be slave to it.

Time changes and new events unfold, it is therefore of important that we review constitution in at certain period and the motive most not for it to favour some set of people.

Taking my country Nigeria as an example, though the founding fathers have the better mindset of building the country but they left with the legacy. We have the best constitution anyone will want to abide with if strictly followed but the constitution only tends to work actively on opposition members and the poor in the society.

We have a slogan around...

Steal from national treasury then you get a national award but steal a satchel of water or just #1000 then get at least 10years imprisonment...


>The drum of war never stop beating Blood flows on the street like a flowing river... Everyone wants to be the super power... It is an unending war that does not hold water for the victor

War might be the answer to peace because the peace experienced are in pieces..

Thanks for this chosen golden word @quillfire

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@fadiji09,

Hi, and thanks for the comment.

I've made several lengthy comments to Nigerian commenters so I'll refrain from opining on those same issues. I would repeat, however, that corruption is the key.

Laws mean nothing if they're not enforced fairly and uniformly. Africa, a continent for which I have great affinity, has got an endemic corruption problem. It doesn't matter how much oil Nigeria has, corruption will forever paralyze progress until the country finds a way to force accountability upon those in power. I know, easier said than done and, unfortunately, I don't have a prescription on how to get there.

The drum of war never stop beating Blood flows on the street like a flowing river... Everyone wants to be the super power... It is an unending war that does not hold water for the victor. War might be the answer to peace because the peace experienced are in pieces..

I would caution about even uttering such words. War is a terrible thing and the result is usually such utter destruction and estrangement of people that, even after the hostilities cease, it takes generations to rebuild. As a Nigerian, you don't have to look far for examples of countries ripped apart by warfare and the devastation it leaves in its aftermath.

100% of the time, it is better to solve the problems peaceably. Again, I know, easier said than done.

An idea that strikes me as interesting would be the setting up of an Internet News site (perhaps a Steemit account) ... OUTSIDE the country ... who's sole purpose is the exposure of corruption. Name names. Provide details. Provide a place for whistle-blowers to get their information published. WikiLeaks for Nigeria. Always be 100% accurate and never engage in hyperbole or speculation. Check and double-check sources.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

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You spoke well about the word corruption has eaten deep into nigeria system.

Even if this steemit new outlet was opened, i am still expecting corrupt people on it.

I think the citizen of the country need to first believe in themselves, in hardworking and in surviving.

Thanks

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@fadiji09,

By the quantity and quality of comments from Nigerians, I'd say there exists a widespread desire to fix the underlying problems. Let's hope it happens.

There are two ways to approach this comment - critiquing the poem; discussing the message. Since you did message me with an invitation to critique, I will do both.

Indeed, from Athens towards nowadays, man keeps creating laws, that mainly benefit the rich or powerful. Nowadays, in politics, it is extended - it does not have to be necessarily a direct financial gain; gaining 'popularity' for votes is part of the power game. The rules change but the game is the same. I would like to think that ideally the laws are there to be slaves of men; however, with the inefficiency and rigidity that they are constructed in, men becomes slave to law.

As for the poem, you should take this with a grain of salt; as you say - you are much better poet than I am. You definitely have skill with the rhythm and rhyming; doing both internal rhymes and then applying another rhyme scheme is extremely challenging. However, I do see it as distracting. Yes, it does sound nice and sonically it flows well. Yet, when it comes to grammar, there are many yoda-like lines. It is not necessary bad, it's poetic - but I do find it distracting and at times confusing. Maybe it is too poetic for me, and the message gets lost in trying to sound like a poem. I'm probably inviting you to shred me for saying such things haha - yet I do find that a huge part of poetry is readership. Then again, I am just one person, so my opinion is not as important.

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The Law was made for man, and not man for the law, but looking back, what has the law done for us? In my opinion, more harm than good. Laws are supposed to be made with humanity at heart, but this is no longer the case. Laws are now made out of selfish desires and evil schemes, and to think that a nation at large is supposed to be bound by that, is too sad for words. Now Man shall no longer be a slave to law, for the law has failed man.

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@lucentbritex,

If ever you have an opportunity to visit a country without democracy, I suspect you will quickly discover "what the law has done for us." The difference, I promise you, is striking.

Laws are supposed to be made with humanity at heart, but this is no longer the case.

Could you be more specific?

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It is true we humans are myopic in our thinking, we are often one way and that one way is pointing directly to us

The law needs subsequent changes because we don't have the same thinking human over time

Lincoln's word encompasses it all

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@aristokratos,

Thanks for the comment. Lincoln had a talent for cutting to the core of an issue, and then using simple, yet profound language, to articulate it.

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That's undoubtedly true

Hey man. I do love the poem and the whole take on it.
I am not sure how to comment on the political stuff as I think History is quite overrated as it really has been written by the winners so it cannot be trusted much ... On what you said about Canada yes you have resources and huge territories but apparently no one wants to live in there except the Dears :) I think Americans understand that pretty much and they are happy they have someone who explores this territory and gather those resources for them... :) Well all that said I hope I did not offend anyone was not my intention really. I just don't want to get started on America and how "great" it is :)

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@angelveselinov,

Hi Angel. Thanks for dropping in.

You're right, history is often distorted by who's telling the tale. Nevertheless, we learn what we can and, if nothing else, history makes pretty good "tourist traps." It's good for the economy.

Talk again soon.

There's no doubt about your thesis that history continues to repeat itself. For man is a short-sighted creature at best, and we cannot understand the trouble and triumphs of past generations fully - not having lived through them ourselves.

"Oh, this time it IS different" we love to shout, to whomever will listen, and mostly to those who wish to agree with us. And it IS different, if only because the stage is filled with a different set of actors. Yet the play has already been written and rehearsed, and the final act will remain the same.

While modern political rhetoric is certainly troubling there are other troubles in our republic. The rise to power of those who are meant to entertain us - actors and actresses - adept at the art of pulling at our emotions, through subterfuge and the adoption of a persona meant to achieve their own ends. So too we have the large group of those who have become lulled into sleep by these actors and actresses, who haven't even the slightest idea of the discourse occurring among our lawmakers, and how they have been slowly, silently, but relentlessly gutting the laws made "For the People".

Oh yes, war could come to us, in fact we seem to invite it, but I do not believe our people have the backbone to bring it of themselves. Instead it will more likely come from outside ourselves, and will either cause our country to be reborn from ashes, or to sink into the miasma of history - to be repeated again and added to the list - Athens, Rome, America.

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@moneyinfant,

The rise to power of those who are meant to entertain us - actors and actresses - adept at the art of pulling at our emotions, through subterfuge and the adoption of a persona meant to achieve their own ends.

I couldn't agree with you more.

I would stipulate, however, that this ought not be simply a dig at Trump (I'm not inferring that this is what you intended ... I'm riffing). Republicans and Democrats alike need to stop "giving a damn about what celebrities think." Since when was Hollywood notorious for it's brilliance or insight about anything?

I have nothing against actors or musicians becoming politicians, but let them first demonstrate their prowess as Congressmen, Congresswomen, Senators or Governors before taking a shot at the White House.

The country, and the world, requires serious people thinking, and doing, serious things. Politics is not supposed to be entertaining. It's supposed to be about doing those things which make the country more functional ... almost all of which are tedious and boring.

If there is one thing I could wish upon American politics, it would be the banning of monetary contributions to campaigns in excess of $2,500 per person. And, contributions from any source, could only come from human beings. No PAC's or Super-PAC's on either side. No contributions from Fortune 500 companies and no contributions from unions. I would happily support giving both sides $1 billion each of taxpayer money, to run their campaigns, so as to negate the need for politicians to grovel for gratuities.

Money, on both sides, is clearly a corrupting influence.

That was quite a party the founding fathers had two days before the Constitutional Convention. They did leave enough enough time to nurse their hangovers.

All kidding aside though, as long as greed is a part of the equation, we can never have law the way it was designed and meant to govern.

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@mellofello,

Good username!

I hope you're wrong as greed seems to be a permanent characteristic of human beings.

You are quite right. I also wonder and ponder,
The law is for who?
Especially in my own country, where the poor are suppressed, the rich are forgiven, the poor takes the blame, the rich takes the victory. And what's more, it has become the norm for the smaller people to suffer.
This really helps in changing my own sense of thinking.

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@cypher01,

As mentioned earlier, I'm writing this from the perspective of the United States.

Nigeria, is a bit different circumstance, isn't it? In my reply to @gjoeohere (above somewhere) I talked about how corruption is ruining Africa, a continent that would otherwise be incredibly wealthy. It's hard to know what to say. So much has been tried and yet the same problems persist.

Nation-building is hard, and much easier said than done.

Let me quote what I quote above:

In terms of resources, Africa is an extraordinarily rich continent and its people ought to be among the wealthiest on Earth. But, it is riddled with corruption and poor governance. The result is a cycle of creation and destruction that never ends. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the remnants of colonialism. But such explanation has been being used as an excuse for too long. Almost all of Africa's current problems are self-inflicted.

From my observations, Africa is besought by tribalism (either ethnic, religious or both). Groups of people within a country are subject to unearned patronage, or precluded from it, based upon their membership in a preferred In-Group. This creates severe dysfunction (and unending war). A meritocracy must be established. A effective system of political checks-and-balances simply does not exist. This limitation of power was the genius of the American Constitution. Central to the beliefs of the Founding Fathers was the idea that Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. And so, they were paranoid about building-in safeguards to ensure accountability. This was an idea they copied from the Romans who, alas, ultimately did not adhere to their own Laws.

I also asked @gjoeohere whether he had any ideas on how these problems might be fixed. I'll ask the same of you.

Of course they were drunk. They were signing a document that by all asspects should have been a death sentence. No one had stood up to the might of the british army. Now look at us. We have become the man that we hated. Much like life, we have become our father.

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@doomsdaychassis,

A bit non-specific. Care to elaborate?

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the first part I was making a refrence / joke about this part of the article about all the alcohol consumed.

In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.
Despite a state of near-constant inebriation, they managed to cobble together the best ideas from millennium of fits and starts, and failed attempts, at Just Law. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfect enough to create the foundation of one of the most consequential countries in history. Of course, there was one imperfection so obvious that it could not, for long, go unaddressed.

the later part about becoming the man we hated is in refrence to how we are now an occupying force on pretty much every part of the globe to some extend much like the british army was at its peak. Though maybe not as much on the colonialization aspect as they were.

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@doomsdaychassis,

Respectfully, in which country is the US an "Occupying Force?" Not Iraq. Not Afghanistan.

Yes, the US has many military bases around the world (most quite small) but which government has asked them to leave? And what would happen if they did?

For decades, the United States stationed its largest, and most strategic, overseas military bases (Naval at Subic Bay / Air Force at Clark) in the Philippines. In 1991, negotiations between the two governments broke down over land-leasing fees. And so ... the US left. This does not sound like the actions of an Occupying Force.

If the United States pulled back all the troops it has stationed overseas, what do you think would be the reaction? I suspect the world would be engulfed in wars in short order. Changing the balance of power is always a dangerous business.

What would happen between North and South Korea (the two countries are technically still at war). What about Japan? Would they not have to explode their military spending to counter China? Maybe even go nuclear. And what of Eastern Europe? Do you think Russia might like to regain Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania? They're hugely strategic ... just like Crimea. The rest of Ukraine perhaps? Who would stop them? How might the other Eastern European countries react to that? Germany? France? The UK?

And the Middle East? How do you think a power vacuum there might play out?

Is there any possibility, do you think, that all those overseas American military bases and American aircraft carrier fleets are keeping the lid on Pandora's Box?

Given the inter-connectedness of the world's economy, what would be the economic impact of even one such conflict?

To quote my article:

In my 50 years and 57 countries, there is one thing I've been convinced of beyond all others: That the "thin veneer of civilization" is just that ... thin.

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everything you just listed is territory we are occupying space in. Hence occupy. like I said we are not on the collonialization aspect that the red coats did but we are most deffinatly occupying space in a large portion of the world. Is it justifiable by being the "world police"? who knows.

Is there the posibility that all of those overseas assests through out our recent history of nation building have somehow made it worse? I love our military but we have made some bad decisions as a nation going in and topling regiems( yes most of them if not all of them were shitty brutal dictators) but then we always leave the very power vacuums you speak of IE: the rise of ISIS and al-qaeda. Did not al-qaeda come about from our medaling in afganistan building "freedom fighters" against the russians? Maybe we should just try sitting it out for one round and let the rest of the world be forced to put on their big boy pants and deal with their own problems for once. I get tired of seeing and hearing about our boys coming home in body bags. I have lost friends serving over seas to indescrimanant road side bombs and it is just terrible. We are ripping ourselves apart here at home enough right now. In closing i completely agree with your last quote of the "thin veneer of civilization" We are all savage animals, that is human nature and the only thing keeping us from being animals is that veneer of civilization. I ask how long do we have to be the babysitters? How long till the rest of the world becomes civilized and at what cost to us?

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@doomsdaychassis,

I agree with almost all your sentiments. It is time for the rest of the world to step up and do more to help solve some of the planet's collective problems, instead of letting it always fall to the US.

I think we may be needlessly quibbling about the word "Occupy." Yes, of course, we are there, occupying territory. But, we are not an "Occupying Power" as that term is defined under International Law. Our remaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are there at the behest of those countries respective governments. If they wish the US to leave, they have only to ask.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_occupation

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I can agree on that.

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Your poem is clever and very well-crafted and tells the story of rule throughout history rather aptly. Some very adroit turns of phrase.

Laws seek to strike a balance. We are forever trying to find a balance between individual freedom and cohesive order, democracy and mass disenfranchisement. Ultimately we get the system we educate for, until the system becomes unbalanced, and then revolution and a new set point is obtained. Currently, we are somewhat will-nilly about the education side of things and give over to media inspired mainly by mercantile interests. Mercantile interests always sow dissatisfaction. Otherwise, we would not be inspired to buy beyond life essentials. Mercantile interests are not about balance. They are about attainment and provoking an imbalance.

Dissatisfaction has become ingrained and pathological. Enlightenment in all its guises, intellectual, spiritual, and psychological, are given a back seat in the nose bleeds, and so we are likely to fall to revolution yet again, revolution being the going around in circles, certainly not the turn Lincoln had envisioned. Perhaps we are well within one already. I know I get rather dizzy at times if I spend too much looking outside myself for contentment.

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@prydefoltz,

Pryde, as usual, your writing is ... beautiful.

Steemians, take note, THIS is how one: crafts thoughts into words; words into sentences; sentences into paragraphs; and paragraphs into arguments.

Indeed, this comment is so flawlessly composed, I will refrain from reply other than to refer you to one of Pryde's earlier posts. Again, beautiful writing, displaying a subtle yet sardonic wit worthy of Mark Twain.

https://steemit.com/marketfriday/@prydefoltz/a-frosty-market-friday-a-crazy-canadian-woman-rant-blog-dswigle

For some fun, look through the comments section for an exchange between her and I ... even her comments are witty and beautifully composed.

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Ahhh ... so sweet, Quill:):):) I am indeed flattered:)

Definition of law by Merriam-Webster
1 a (1) : a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed (see prescribe 1a) or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority (2) : the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law. (3) : common law
b (1) : the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law preserved law and order in the town

Once we where all tribes and the ruler of said tribe handed down "the law" & enforcement of those laws. In this day & age we have a controlling authority which enforces past laws and uses them as a mean to control the masses.

The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law. This job is presided by a "judge" who sits on the "bench".

Ever notice how only the laws apply to the masses and not the wealthy? Plutocrats consider themselves above "the law".

All of the laws that have been instituted... have been broken time again by the wealthiest of individuals upon the masses yet they aren't punished. One must never forget that the term "bench" where the judge presides, means "bank" & comes from the Italian word for Bench "banco".

http://factmyth.com/factoids/the-word-bank-comes-from-the-italian-word-for-bench/

We can wax philisophical and poetic all we want, but laws are only applied if we are caught.

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@mithrilweed,

You have a point.

I recall once telling a friend, "Right or wrong doesn't make the slightest difference. The guy who can pay the lawyers the longest, wins."

While this is a bit hyperbolic for the sake of making a point, it is clear that money is the Achilles Heel of the legal system. But, I might remind everyone, that this is a universal problem in the Affairs of Man. The one thing you can always count on with humans is that "someone will try to game the system."

When you look through the Trending Page here on Steemit, have you not noticed a disconnect between quality and compensation? Look through the list of upvotes on these posts. What do you notice? Look through the comments section and begin counting the number of vote-bots.

Money, even here, where the Central Premise is supposed to be: Content is Compensated Commiserate with its Quality, the system fails.

I don't know much about laws but I do know that their very existence implies two things:

There is an alternative course of action (which they try to prevent)

And they are going to be broken (Else, why would there be punishments?)

I believe in small and simple laws. I remember that in SFL, we always say the law should say what citizens cannot do and what the government can do. These days, it's like the other way round.

The law dictates what people can do and highlights what the government cannot do. So people are restricted while those in the corridor of powers get to enjoy themselves.

Do i have a solution?

No!

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@iamthegray,

Do i have a solution?

No!

Neither do I, but that's why philosophize, right? All solutions start with thinking about the problem.

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Yeah

You got that part right

Damn.... I don't know where to begin. I think I felt just about every emotion reading this post. The poem was so beautifully written and I can tell it is not something that was thrown together in haste.

When I first started reading the article itself I found it humorous how the Founding Fathers spent so much time drinking prior to writing the Constitution. I am going back to school right now and I have found that I perform better on tests when I have had a few drinks. My school papers are a lot more interesting as well. I managed to write my final Ethics and Values paper and get my point across in 1.5 pages when the minimum was 5 and I still ended up getting an A-.

Once I got to the end of the article about you reading Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address, the tone shifted from comical to very heavy hearted for me. I was in the military for 10 years and spent the majority of it deployed away from my family in combat zones. I know the feelings that he felt as he wrote those words. My life has been impacted forever because of my experiences and I truly hope that my children never have to experience any of it.

Thank you for your service and for the amazing post.

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@derangedvisions,

This is the kind of post Cryptogee is looking for ... and me too. Beautifully written, perfectly edited and expressing an insight and sincerity that's hard to miss.

There's something about having been in the military, that cannot be explained to those who have not.

I am going back to school right now and I have found that I perform better on tests when I have had a few drinks. My school papers are a lot more interesting as well. I managed to write my final Ethics and Values paper and get my point across in 1.5 pages when the minimum was 5 and I still ended up getting an A-.

My 16-year-old daughter and I spent 5 minutes riffing about your comment. She's been inspired by your technique! "Harvard, here I come! ... Burp!"

I read your post about your layover in Istanbul. You're right about the kids. It's too bad you didn't have longer to explore. Istanbul, if you're into history, has got to be one of the most fascinating cities on Earth. I'll go back and read through the rest of your posts a bit later ( I'm ... a bit busy at the moment!)

Thank you for your service and for the amazing comment.

Let's keep in touch.

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I am glad you appreciated my comment. Tell your daughter that she is too young to start employing my techniques. I am actually prepping myself right now for some school work by having a rum and coke while I type this, lol. I have to summarize a script for a documentary and there is no way I would be able to make it through 46 pages without some liquid motivation.

Thank you for taking the time to read through some of my other posts, I really appreciate that. That short time I spent in Istanbul was amazing. The first night we were there was awesome. The hotel the airline put us up in was having a wedding party out in the courtyard and it was filled with a few hundred people, a live band, people dancing, smoking hookah and just having a great time. We were able to just be thrown into the culture headfirst and it was such an amazing experience. Then the next morning, I saw those children and saw a different part of Istanbul that has stuck with me, that I have dubbed, The Forgotten Children.

After the time I spent in Africa I came home a changed person. Before I left, I was somewhat of a "damaged" person, with a mind tormented from my experiences from war and my time as a law enforcement officer (another time and another post), but when I came home, I had a new purpose and a renewed outlook on life. I had realized that even though I had grown up traveling the world, my wife and kids had never experienced life outside of America, which I felt was a disservice to them, because there is so much more to this world. We are now planning on moving to Thailand when I graduate and helping "The Forgotten Children" of the world. I want to show my kids and my wife the beauty that this world has to offer.

I am hoping that this comment makes some sense to you and anyone else who is taking the time to read it. By now I am starting to feel a little tipsy so the words start to flow freely, which can either be a good or a bad thing depending on how you view it. This may have been how I was able to write my 5 page paper in a page and a half, or this could just be rambling nonsense, but in my mind, it made sense, I'm not sure if my hands cooperated with typing out what my mind was saying though.

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@derangedvisions,

I hear you brother.

Africa puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Strangely, despite all the hardship and trauma, I still find it to be the most spiritual place on Earth. I used to say (before having a child), that if I had a terminal illness, I would return to Africa to die. Out on the Savannah. The circle of life. There is something about the rawness of the continent that is ... more honest.

A little piece of advice from one soldier to another, and, I suspect, one poet to another: Don't try to save the whole world, it will crush you. Do your part and have faith that others will do theirs.

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Thank you for your advice. Have a great night brother. I never did make it to my script, I drunk blogged a post about my photography and PTSD instead and then had an awesome conversation with some other people on here. This Steemit community is great and I am glad to be a part of it and have met a lot of great people. I'll talk to you later.

"Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social and government institutions to regulate behaviour."

But due to corruption law is not what it seems today.
Our leaders have ensured that laws are for the weaklings and the poor.
They always bend the rules to their advantage but the masses suffers at the slightest mistake.

They're entitled to embezzling millions but a citizen caught stealing even as low as $10 is entitled to jail.

"The law shapes politics ,
economics , history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people."

But we all know this is very far from the truth in our present day life.

Thank you for your poem, it raised several issues of the fickle nature of our relationship with the 'Law'.

Everyone harks back to Athenian democracy, but I doubt it would be popular today. What it meant in practice, was that every eligible male in Athens could vote, once a year, for one citizen (usually a civic leader or general), to be 'demarcated' - expelled from the city without trial.

I can't see people today going for 'demarcation' - on the other hand...

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@nicktravers,

Nice to meet a fellow historian!

Athenian democracy could be pretty rowdy. And, they seemed to have a lot of time on their hands to argue politics ... a circumstance facilitated by their own substantial population of slaves. Plato was not in favor of democracy (at least the kind he was witnessing). I had not heard 'demarcated' used in that context (the processed of getting tossed out of the city is usually called, Ostracism) but I'll take your word for it.

Fun Fact: Plato was also for banishing poets!

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69373/from-the-republic

The other dangers of poets are that they corrupt youth and incite the passions instead of the faculties of reason. The poet, “with his words and phrases,” is able to convince listeners that he knows what he speaks of: “such is the sweet influence which melody and rhythm by nature have.” Poetry, including the narratives of others’ lives, appeals to the emotions; it “feeds and waters the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule, although they ought to be controlled, if mankind are ever to increase in happiness and virtue.” In Book X, Plato concludes that poetry must be banished from the hypothetical, ideal society; however, if poetry makes “a defense for herself in lyrical or some other meter,” she may be allowed to return from exile.

[@prydefoltz ... did you get that? Pryde ... I think Plato was pooping on free verse!!! He seems to be OK with lyrical poetry, though. :-) :-) :-)]

Nick, all this talk about Athens has inspired my choice of posts for later today.

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Ha, ha, sounds like 'free verse' was the 'rock & roll' of Athenian society. Dangerous things, words.

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@nicktravers,

Plato was a "thought-experiment" kinda guy, rather concerned about what the definition of "is," is. I'm more partial towards Aristotle, "empiricism"... if your observations don't fit your theory, change your theory.

@prydefoltz, she appears more into Socrates. Indeed, she seems to have something of a crush, and is willing to overlook the whole not bathing thing. :-)

Dangerous things, words.

Indeed, my friend. My provoking Pryde, for example, is akin to poking a bear. She is a very good writer and she gives as good as she gets.

Oh, the things we do in the name of sport. :-)

Dystopian steampunk, huh? To be honest, I'm not even sure what that is. I'll have to look into it. I've always wanted to take a crack at a novel. Two things are stopping me: I've got about a dozen different ideas and can't choose between them; and, time.

Some day. Some day.

Thanks by the way for the Resteeem of Behind Great Minds. That wasn't part of the Contest. I have an idea about how to fuse Steemit with my advertising business and so I'm "Keeping My Channel Clean" for those prospective future eyeballs (not Resteeming with the exception of Cryptogee's Contest). So, don't be offended by my not reciprocating your kind gesture ... Fortune 500's are a demanding lot.

That said, I don't forget those to whom I am indebted.

BTW: I'm not sure if it was an oversight, but to qualify for @cryptogee's Contest, you have to Resteem THIS post (I'll go check the rules to see if he's modified them, but as of this writing, I don't think he has).

In my 50 years and 57 countries.

I must say, this got to me. I have always wanted to be some kind of tourist who would travel the world, but well, here i am stuck in my country.
I once tried illegally sneaking into Europe just for the crave of real civilisation, but truely i think that word is exists only in the books, real life, we all still just some crazy homo sapiens. No one is at peace with his neighbour, some haven't even found their inner peace, how then can they live in peace. War is everywhere and this goes beyond those controlled by the so called governments or leaders, there is a war within our selves, wars in our homes, in our communities, but we only look upon the big inter-country wars. The best way to cut down a tree is from its root,

charity begins at home

The law will always be broken, so the earlier we start ruling with love and not just law, the better for everyone.

I don't know much about the American Constitution, but from the little I know it's nowhere near perfection not even perfect enough for the Americans.

Well, just like almost every other law book of every other country, it seeks to uphold the honour of America, show off the strong foundation America rests on, it's hospitality towards foreigners, and the rest of it all, while doing the minimal least for the average American.
Laws never really work because they oppose everything the common man stands for, deprives him of everything he feels he deserves. Laws are made for Law, not for man.

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@bomaprecious,

Your comment is pretty ... non-specific. Could you clarify your position with examples?

Thanks.

Sir You Have really Gather Great History For Us Your Line "The most telling lesson of history, is that we don't learn from history. As Mark Twain reputedly said, "History never repeats itself, but it rhymes." We keep making the same mistakes." Really Teaches Us The Lesson Of What We Are Now Today Keep Making Peace Great Work,

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@uxmanqaxim,

Thank you sir.

If you don't appreciate what you have please who will do it for you, American love their country so much that we the others looks inferior, am saying a fact here.

Thank you for this fine read. The poem was intricate and complex. I am finding so many amazing, and awakened artists these days here on Steemit. This time thanks to @cryptogee.

Being some one who believes they can see the lies between their (any politician in America these days) teeth, I agree on the sentiment that we are heading again towards a civil war.

And I have been preaching this for years, that there is a divide growing in America, for there are certainly those who would wish to destroy this nation and the great middle class that makes up the majority. And all of it by design.

Since the founding of the evil Rothschild family banking cartel and all the evil that stemmed forth.. the government no longer works for the people. The people work for the government, yet they're mostly too blind to see it.

Thank you again for this post. One easily worth sharing.

Even though I am not an American, or the likes of it, I found this post to be what ever you wish, that I want it to be for you to have an in-joy-able-day.

Also; blockchain technology can be the solution for the challenges of the human specie. Let's make this work.

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I read this post hoping I'd get to understand what idea was being portrayed here but I'm sort of at a loss now that I'm through with it.
So I'd like to ask @quillfire to please make his post more concise.
I sort of grabbed the pathos which rang in the final part of this post, how hopeless things are if even when the country was being laid, people had views so divergent it threatened to bring down the nation.
And I sort of know that sort of feeling could be running unchecked in our society today, but I'd have loved to have seen @quillfire expand on this.

He brings a good post to the table. I'm just not so sure he has finished it yet.

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@paragon99,

Thanks for the comment. The poem, and accompanying article, is not meant to convey "hopelessness." I certainly don't feel the situation is hopeless. But, I am concerned. The level of vitriol has become pathological. Democracies require free and open debate of ideas and maintaining a spirit of compromise is an imperative.

Ironically, the comments section of this post is exactly what I hoped the poem/article might inspire. Many people expressing intelligent and thoughtful opinions, sometimes conflicting, and yet remaining civil and level-headed. Each arguing their perspective, while being respectful to the perspectives of others.

Over the past forty years, information and communication technologies have transformed the way we work, the nature of learning and education, and the methods by which we achieve personal and collective goals. Parents, grandparents, children, and the range of loved ones who form part of the modern family today face new and challenging choices about technology use, access, and control.

The old paradigm in communication was that people generally revealed very little of their fears and doubts. They tried to present the image of themselves to other people as completely confident and knowledgeable. The goal was to make sure that you appeared like you were always in complete control.

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@jordanlove,

Uh ... are you sure you're on the right post? This post is about the evolution of Law throughout the ages and, more specifically, about safeguarding the spirit that underlies the Law today.

Mankind never learn from history. And even the most well-informed laws and constitutions never makes us learn. Every law made has a dent which almost always requires amendment. And laws are usually made with some people in mind. There are always people are mostly affected by such laws. So while in surface value, it always seems as if it was made for the general populace, at the end of the day, the real people for whom such laws were made becomes obvious. And when disagreements arise as a result of making laws with a set of people in mind, the inevitable happens - conflicts, and then wars!

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