Three Reasons Why Poetry and Politics Can Save the Planet

Poetry can help save the planet with the right kind of president. I am not kidding. Take a spin with me out of the usual orbit of visionaries and land on Planet Possible. Poetry appreciation and writing can change the course of human history. That's an extreme assertion about the power of poetry.
1. Poetry encourages us to be more civilized. Can you imagine a poet punching a critic squarely in the nose for a bad book review? I can't. Poets are usually described as rather sensitive souls. I once had a CEO tell me that I was very sensitive. I thanked my friend, and he said, "Joe, I didn't mean it as a compliment." Yes, poets are more in touch with their feelings. They tend not to have a "grin and bare it" philosophy. Wherever they go and whatever they do their true feelings are hanging on the edges of their sleeves, and they will share what's on their minds. They want to be heard, whether it's about the pain in their lives or the joy. They are authentic human beings, honest and upfront about their values and their beliefs. Aren't they the kind of people you want for friends and leaders?
2. If all leaders of the world were both politician and poet, there would be fewer wars and more harmony. The most stirring line President John F. Kennedy ever said was "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." That's a historic line of poetry. And what about the end of the Gettysburg's Address: "... this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." That sounds like poetry to me. Politicians frequently stir us with their words because they know the power of words, and sometimes they capture our heartstrings with prose poetry.
Emily Dickinson: "When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
Allen Greenberg "Poetry comes nearer to the truth than history."
John F. Kennedy: "Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does."
What this planet needs are leaders that are both leader and poet. If we did, peace and goodwill might bloom throughout the land. That might sound like a stretch, but is it? We've had a black president, and now a business for a president. Why not seek a poet for president who is articulate, transparent, and deeply committed to spreading harmony wherever he or she travels. This poet-president's highest priority would be spreading peace and harmony among all people of all nations.
3. Poetry is the crème de menthe of all genres of writing and communication. "The crown of literature is poetry. It is its end and aim," said British writer, Somerset Maugham. "The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes." It's poetry that pulls at our heartstrings and makes us feel fully alive. Why not focus the teaching of poetry appreciation in schools across America without dissecting it for meaning like a frog in biology class? Poetry opens the door to creativity and new ways of thinking about ourselves, our government, and our planet. Poetry in the right hands is inspirational and refreshing. Wouldn't a dynamic president with his mind full of poetic thoughts, the right consensus programs, make an everlasting difference? Wouldn't such a president with a heart full of goodwill for all become the champion for a better world for all, especially if he or she believed a Twitter account was more trouble than it was worth, and didn't use one.
Please, don't forget this is all happening on Planet Possible.
Joe Sottile is a poet, former teacher, and a political observer. He has two passions, poetry and politics. His wife might be inclined to say that Joe has two addictions--whatever! Life is all about finding your purpose (passion) and living your purpose. If you might be interested in the books that Joe has written, they are showcased online:
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