Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther,
And who has been just? for I would be the most just person of the earth,
And who most cautious? for I would be more cautious,
And who has been happiest? O, I think it is I – I think no one was ever happier than I,
And who has lavish’d all? for I lavish constantly the best I have,
And who proudest? for I think I have reason to be the proudest son alive – for I am the son of the brawny and tall-topt city,
And who has been bold and true? for I would be the boldest and truest being of the universe,
And who benevolent? for I would show more benevolence than all the rest,
And who has receiv’d the love of the most friends? for I know what it is to receive the passionate love of many friends,
And who possesses a perfect and enamour’d body? for I do not believe anyone possesses a more perfect or enamour’d body than mine,
And who thinks the amplest thoughts? for I would surround those thoughts,
And who has made hymns fit for the earth? for I am mad with devouring ecstasy to make joyous hymns for the whole earth.
~ Walt Whitman
This is in so many different ways, for so many different people, a very powerful moment in America. I’m under no illusions. If politics is the art of the possible, history has a way of showing us how limited are our possibilities, how our best ideals and intentions are often turned awry, and how the contradictions inherent in persons and nations have always a way of claiming their pound of flesh. But no matter our lesser allegiances, we hold our breath today.
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes, creative commons license