On reading this poem by Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881), one cannot help but be struck by the great contrast with the present American administration. It could have been written specifically for the dismal situation in which we now find ourselves in the United States. It reminds us of values and ideals many Americans seem to have forgotten or to have discarded in favor of base emotions, crass tribalism, and personal gain. For “God” we can easily substitute a plea to the national conscience, and to “men” we must of course add “women”:
GOD, GIVE US MEN
God, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
Read the daily news, and you will see endless examples of wrong ruling the land and justice sleeping. A great deal, not only for the United States but for the planet, is at stake in the upcoming election. One can only hope that those who voted in the disastrous administration we have had these last four years will come to their senses and return to the highest ideals held forth by the best and brightest souls this country has produced over the years. Then perhaps the country can begin to climb out of the dark slough into which it has fallen.