The Watering Hole; Thursday October 20 2016; The Presidential Debates: A Poetic … Summation?


The debates are over. Finis. Whoopee. Yeehaw. In briefest summary, their sole accomplishment has been to redefine the concept of ‘dismal.’ Why is that? Whatever happened to the notion of comparing ideas? Of exploring the concept of Excellence rather than the dismal side of hatred-driven politics? Whatever happened to that constitutional idea of “a more perfect union”?

Back in the late 1800’s, British poet William Watson wrote about ‘Excellence,’ the concept and its impact on thought, presumably on actual attainment processes as well. A quick perusal reinforms the damaged mind on both the concept AND the consequence(s) of Excellence. A more patient and thoughtful read can, I’ve found, effectually rewrite the mind’s vision of what should perhaps be the basis of an honest political debate, perhaps even of a viable governing philophy.

The Things That Are More Excellent

As we wax older on this earth,
Till many a toy that charmed us seems
Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth,
And mean as dust and dead as dreams
For gauds that perished, shows that passed,
Some recompense the Fates have sent,
Thrice lovelier shine the things that last,
The things that are more excellent.

Tired of the Senate’s barren brawl,
An hour with silence we prefer,
Where statelier rise the woods than all
Yon towers of talk at Westminster. [or Washington?] 
Let this man prate and that man plot,
On fame or place or title bent:
The votes of veering crowds are not
The things that are more excellent.

Shall we perturb and vex our soul
For “wrongs” which no true freedom mar,
Which no man’s upright walk control,
And from no guiltless deed debar?
What odds though tonguesters heal, or leave
Unhealed, the grievance they invent?
To things, not phantoms, let us cleave
The things that are more excellent.

Nought nobler is, than to be free:
The stars of heaven are fret because
In amplitude of liberty
Their joy is to obey the laws.
From servitude to freedom’s name
Free thou thy mind in bondage pent;
Depose the fetich, and proclaim
The things that are more excellent.

And in appropriate dust be hurled
That dull, punctilious god, whom they
That call their tiny clan the world,
Serve and obsequiously obey:
Who con their ritual of Routine,
With minds to one dead likeness bleat,
And never ev’n in dreams have seen
The things that are more excellent.

To dress, to call, to dine, to break
No canon of the social code,
The little laws that lacqueys make,
The futile decalogue of Mode,
How many a soul for these things lives,
With pious passion, grave intent! 
While Nature careless-handed gives
The things that are more excellent.

To hug the wealth ye cannot use.
And lack the riches all may gain,
O blind and wanting wit to choose,
Who house the chaff and burn the grain,
And still.doth life with starry towers
Lure to the bright, divine ascent!
Be yours the things ye would: be ours
The things that are more excellent.

The grace of friendship–mind and heart
Linked with their fellow heart and mind;
The gains of science, gifts of art;
The sense of oneness with our kind;
The thirst to know and understand
A large and liberal discontent:
These are the goods in life’s rich hand,
The things that are more excellent.

In faultless rhythm the ocean rolls,
A rapturous silence thrills the skies;
And on this earth are lovely souls,
That softly look with aidful eyes.
Though dark, O God,
Thy course and track. I think
Thou must at least have meant
That nought which lives should wholly lack
The things that are more excellent.


Since the Conventions last summer, we have seen little if any binary discussion of goals that might enhance the ‘Excellence’ of American life in general. In fact, the Trumpian side of this electoral contest has completely avoided any discussion of any kind on the matter of ‘Excellence,’ dwelling instead on matters that define its precise opposite, i.e. concepts designed to solely inspire hate and fear amongst its acolytes. Very disappointing.

I find it interesting — and fascinating — that more than one hundred and fifty years ago, Emily Dickinson defined Trump’s collective debate (and campaign) performance — and probably the entire of his functional ‘personality’ — when she wrote:

He preached upon “Breadth” till it argued him narrow —
The Broad are too broad to define
And of “Truth” until it proclaimed him a Liar —
The Truth never flaunted a Sign —

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As Gold the Pyrites would shun —
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a Man!

‘Counterfeit presence’ indeed! Either Dickinson had run across an early version of Trump years prior to the Civil War, or she was possessed by an extremely and amazingly prescient mind!

In the final analysis, then, it is now my carefully considered opinion (conclusion?) that the 2016 Presidential Debates can and will be forever judged as a complete and total substantive failure, and all because of the juvenile mentality and the implicitly vicious and vitriolic nature of the Republican candidate for POTUS: Donald J. Trump. I do hope that we the people have finally witnessed and sampled — this year, 2016 — the absolute dregs of American political debate. And though it’s an extremely long climb to even regain the middle of its severe downhill slope, I do indeed suggest that the quest for political Excellence be immediately initiated. Meanwhile, words penned by Wm. Wordsworth in Intimations of Immortality) appear to be an adequate summary of this day’s political dilemma:

The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?




24 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday October 20 2016; The Presidential Debates: A Poetic … Summation?

    • Wayne, if you aren’t off line, try reinstalling the firewall first. If you are depending on the Windows firewall? Disable it and download the ZoneAlarm free firewall and give it a try. Much less hassle than reinstalling the OS. Here’s the download link.

      Another free product that comes highly recommended by my IT guru is MalwareBytes free malware removal. Here’s the download link for it.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks, Pete. I’ll look into them. I’m using my mother’s computer (I bought all three of ours at the same time.) I’ve managed to successfully update it and get its Windows Defender current and operational. I may re-hook up my infected computer to download those links. I did run Malware but it said it didn’t find anything. Yet I still couldn’t turn on my firewall. Something got in there.

    • Are you still there, Wayne? It’s quite simple to disable the Windows firewall, which isn’t all that great, and install ZoneAlarm free. Another handy tool is MalwareBytes free malware remover. It comes highly recommended by my IT guru and he’s downright paranoid. It seems that WP doesn’t want me to post the links so let me know if I can give you better directions on how to find them.

      Good Luck!

      • Ditto on MalwardBytes, my guru says the same. It’s easy to install, easy to use, and I’ve not had a single problem in over a year — thanks to finding and disabling/deleting a fair number of Malware uncoverings.

      • Thanks, Pete. I dragged my mother’s old computer out to have something to use temporarily. Unfortunately, I’m running into a lot of issues where I can’t even re-install Windows 8.1 because I don’t remember the password to a stupid Microsoft account I don;t remember ever using. But I’ll try installing MalwareBytes on this machine since I could never trust my mother to not click on things she should never click on. Or she would swirl the mouse around the screen and click on things she didn’t know she was clicking on, and then deny she did anything. She never did get the hang of computers

        • Ewww! Windows 8. I know it only by repute but I didn’t make that mistake. I decided to take a flier on the free upgrade to Windows 10. It worked O.K. and I was getting used to it for a while and then it did an automatic update, that I thought I had disabled, and my computer couldn’t find an internet connection despite everything I could think of. I went back to my most recent backup of Windows 7 and I have a lean, mean, fast machine again!

          • I agree with you on Windows 7 — works like a charm, flawlessly. Folks I know with 8 and/or 10 most certainly don’t recommend anyone else go there. Not sure I quite understand why MS would fuck up a good thing, but they certainly do seem to have the knack. What’s going to piss me off is when MS does to 7 what they did to XP when they abandoned it, esp. if they can’t come up with a decent option by then.

            • I think 10 still has potential. It’s really more of a “service pack” than a band-new OS. My guess is that it would have worked just fine if my computer was newer. One thing they got right is the option to easily disable stuff you don’t want so the boot time was better than 7; unless one is willing and able to get into the guts of 7. I would have stuck with it if my attempts to get my internet connection back had not corrupted my “boot loader” and my old rescue CD had worked. If I had made a new “rescue” disk as soon as I upgraded? I think it would have worked.

  1. November 9th, Drumpf is screaming and pouting about the ‘stolen election’, The Democratic Party controls the House, the Senate (not a filibuster proof, but a majority) and the House of Representatives.
    Drumpf can scream, pant, yell, disclaim and disavow.
    He is and will be an irrelevant footnote to our political history.
    His minions will donate more money to his scams, and thus complete the fleecing of the Idiocratic party.

  2. Donald Trump’s national political director, Jim Murphy, said Thursday he is stepping back from the Republican nominee’s campaign.
    “I have not resigned but for personal reasons have had to take a step back from the campaign,” Murphy said, as first reported by Politico.
    We’re sooo fuuuckkked….

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