Monday, August 25, 2014

Still Pertinent Words in Stephen Vincent Benét's "Nightmare at Noon"

Stephen Vincent Benét

In 1940, over a year before America entered WWII, Stephen Vincent Benét published a warning about fascism to his fellow Americans in the poem "Nightmare at Noon" (New York Times Magazine, June 1940). Some of the words are pertinent today:
Liberty, equality, fraternity.
To none will we sell, refuse or deny, right or justice.
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
But what if . . .
I am merely saying - what if these words pass?
What if they pass and are gone and are no more,
Eviscerated, blotted out of the world?
What if, instead:
Strength is all, worship strength!
Worship, bow down or die!
Sound familiar? Remind you of anything? We'll need more wisdom with the power we do have, or we'll bow to a brutal power that accepts only submission. Just look back at yesterday's blog entry . . .


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