Home | About | Donate

Sing the Body Politic, Electric


Sing the Body Politic, Electric

Rivera Sun

Recently, I traveled by train across the US in a swaying, creeping journey of that took me through the backyards and forgotten corners of our country. Here, you see the America that doesn't make it into the slogans of presidential campaigns. These back alleys are not evoked by the statistics and demographical jargon politicians use to describe this country.


A prosaic version of the Murka captured in Steve Goodman's CITY OF NEW ORLEANS nearly a half century ago.

Perhaps President Jill Stein will adequately fund Amtrak for the first time in its 45 year history, even expanding service to communities not now served ?


A lyrical, poetic piece.

I think Rivera Sun found the poet she was looking for.


Wow! Rivera Sun for President!


" I want a poet to articulate the painful truths raging in us all."

For starters, I'll settle for some high speed trains.


The passenger trains in the US ran at higher speeds 100 years ago, but then the 1% traveled by private railcar and even private train instead of private jet. High speed rail will come if only out of necessity. The slow pace of Amtrak outside the Northeastern Corridor is actually quite pleasant if you have the time. You can actually peer into those backyards Rivera Sun mentioned. All is not depressing. Some sections have volunteers who explain the history of what you are passing. There are gardens and projects and children playing. The human spirit is indomitable. Also visible are the industrial production facilities that produce "food" that smell and look like oil refineries. My 10 year old granddaughter had her first encounter with the Amish. Quite amusing. She also enjoyed that stretch of the Colorado River called "Moon River" where the passing trains are given a rude salute by the rafters of both genders.



Thank you for this. You are the poet of which you speak and for which you pine.


Thank you for the realization of how impossible it has become to accomplish the aims laid out in the Preamble to the Constitution. In the quest to become the most powerful country we have allowed 'we, the people' to become incidental. We are polarized by two political parties that want to conquer each other, and stock markets that see monetary gains and losses as the be all and end all. It is ugly. What we need is beauty in our lives. The beauty of peace, the beauty of equality, the beauty of justice, the beauty of cherishing our children and their families, the beauty of our environment, the beauty of overcoming poverty, of not linking good health to the ability to pay, the beauty of having time to appreciate life. How different these goals are from our politicians' goals.

Only the Green Party platform addresses any semblance of how different our country could be and we scoff at it rather than embrace its goals like finding water after a great thirst. Sadly, we have been co-opted into voting for candidates we term, 'the lesser of two evils'. No hope for beauty, just more of the same. Why do we not even question the status quo? Why have we established more than 900 military outposts around the world? Why do we insist on being superior to everyone else? Why do even the best intentioned and educated minds continue to participate in this charade of an election and a democracy?


Yeah, I remember that stretch of "moon" river on the California Zephyr. It was one of the worse XC train trips even by AMTRAK standards - A spring broke on dining car's suspension and the car had to be left behind on a siding in Iowa after sitting stationary on the tracks for 6 hours. Storms triggered fallen rock detectors along that upper Colorado River canyon stretch so the whole portion was done at no more than 10 mph. Got to see a powerful lightning bolt strike a pine tree across the canyon and set it on fire. It was then box lunches picked up at the station stops all the way to Sacramento - 16 hours late!

Me and my wife had a sleeper compartment and supply of wine - only sleeper passengers are allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages - coach passengers must buy it at a premium price in the club car. Getting a sleeper (the deluxe ones even have their own little bathroom and shower) is a comfortable way to travel - all meals are included in the fare - but it is expensive.