What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–
and then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load

Or does it just explode?

— Langston Hughes

Wait 'til next year.

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  • Andy Nelson

    Don’t despair, friend.
    “I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.”
    from William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

  • Josh

    No comment about the dreams coming true in Iraq (amidst great difficulty)? The summit on Tuesday (with other multi-decade dreams possibly coming true)? The President who dreams (and talks) more about justice and human rights than any of the key Democrats do?
    I suppose some felt unable to join in the celebration when the Berlin wall fell too. It’s hard to believe that we sometimes are led to justify the maintenance of oppression.

  • Mr Ripley

    I’ve been reading the news all night, and it’s not just Fred: NOT ONE journalist in the mainstream media has said that the distress Philadelphians feel over the loss of the Superbowl should be mitigated by the knowledge that millions of Iraqis had the courage to cast ballots. Damn Lefties.

  • animus

    The President who dreams (and talks) more about justice and human rights than any of the key Democrats do?
    He may talk about them more. But if he dreams of justice and human rights, it is a nightmare where he is on trial for war crimes.

  • Fred

    Been away from the computer. Will be away some more.
    But, hey, nice to see that the “you didn’t write about X, so I’m morally superior for bringing it up” fallacy is still alive and kicking.
    Josh, hope the proctalgia fugax lets up. I can tell it’s starting to get to you.

  • The42ndGuy

    That’s what I, as a Cub fan, have always liked about Eagles fans. Y’all share our eschatology.

  • Josh

    Awesome Fred. I look forward to hearing your take on it. Just wanted to make sure you hadn’t missed what may well be the most important event in the global civil rights movement since Mandela’s election – or the fall of the Berlin Wall while we were at Eastern. I’ve grown dependent on your timely commentary on all things pessimistic and was concerned that the optimism of the election had blown your synapses. (I do realize reporting on “Operation Air Conditioner” or “Groundhog Day” in the post-election probably seemed more vital.)
    I also throught maybe if you take the time to write something really pessimistic before the Israeli/Palestinian summit tomorrow it might help to ensure the summit’s success. Although if settlement of this conflict occurs under this President I’ll be particularly concerned about your health.
    The proctalgia fugax comment was hilarious. Readers – if you haven’t already – look it up. How do you find these things Fred?
    Here’s a link to Thomas Friedman’s coverage of the election for others waiting for Fred’s perspective:

  • Josh

    Do you often have difficulty telling war criminals from civil rights activists? Do you despise Lincoln but pay tribute to John Wilkes Booth (the Zarqawi of his time)? Do you think Martin Luther King was a war criminal for calling for the use of federal troops in Little Rock? Or was Eisenhower the war criminal for sending them? Is that a Klan robe you’re wearing?

  • Yar’s Revenge

    Some folks got a real vested interest in the Iraqi election being the Most Important Day For Freedom, Ever. Not just Bush, but everybody who signed their credibility over to him. I guess if I were in that position I’d want to badger other people into validating my moral and intellectual redemption, too.
    Do we know who won yet?

  • Beth

    hope the proctalgia fugax lets up. I can tell it’s starting to get to you.
    I don’t mind profanity, but lines like that illustrate one great advantage of watching your language: it can be a wonderfully creative.

  • animus

    Do you often have difficulty telling war criminals from civil rights activists?
    Well, it wasn’t me that compared the Contras to the Founding Fathers of the US…

  • R. Mildred

    I just don’t get how anyone could so sanctimonious as to tell any blogger what they should be blogging about (unless they are calling for LB posts of course), especially when I don’t know what Fred could add about the Iraqi elections that he didn’t get from the MSM, maybe Josh knows something I don’t though.
    Instawank’s “iraqi elections (link) Indeed.” style isn’t for everyone you know.

  • TEd

    You’re darn right we’re waiting for next year – but fuck the Eagles.

  • Patrick J. Mullins

    The Iraqis were courageous, but they were just trying to cut their losses, they’re not stupid enough to not know that Bush owns their country. Of course, there can be some colourful melanges, what with the difficulties Shiites may bring. They were voting for Bush, hoping he’d take notice before the Polish person told Condoleezza that it was time to ‘change the subject from Iraq.’ This is something the Bushies will surely do.
    How can an undemocratic country (the U.S.) bring democracy to another country? Anyway, the democratic elections in Iraq back in the late 50’s go almost totally unreported. Kennedy and the CIA installed the Fascist Ba’ath Party in 1963. I can’t believe people still believe the idiotic Iraq invasion or the support for Israeli theft of Palestinian lands is all of a sudden going to be another million or so flowers blooming just because the Iraqi middle class decided to be practical.

  • Navigator

    Does Bush talk and dream about civil rights in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan? In Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, any part of Afghanistan outside Kabul, or wherever over a thousand foreigners were held without charge for endless months after 9/11 merely for being Muslim, or wherever American citizens were held incommunicado without being charged or given access to counsel while the Administration declared them “enemy combatants”? Did he talk and dream about it while he and his appointees made clear in 2002-03 that human rights were never a reason for the Iraqi invasion, which was strictly justified on grounds of the WMD threat? While U.S. troops, as the Economist reports, shoot anything that comes near them, killing untold innocents? Does he talk and dream about it while accepting memos declaring that the Geneva Conventions do not apply and that he can override U.S. law due to his inherent power as the executive? Does he talk and dream about it while appointing Alberto Gonzales as AG, and keeping John Negroponte and Elliot Abrahms in high office? Does all that explain, exactly, how he’s morally superior to Democrats and equal to “civil rights activists,” as you put it, like Dr. King?
    Or are you just a fucking tool? Because, you should know, I’m leaning towards the latter.

  • The Navigator

    Before anyone even responds, I offer my apologies for the last post, which I am unable to un-post. While I feel my tone and language were justified, as a response to someone comparing George Bush to Martin Luther King, it was nevertheless rude, profane, unduly ill-tempered and probably a violation of Fred’s posting rules. It’s his site and I shouldn’t be poisoning it.

  • pharoute

    “what may well be the most important event in the global civil rights movement since Mandela’s election”
    Josh I applaud you from reminding everyone of the August 30, 1999 elections in East Timor.

  • pharoute

    also at least they beat the spread…the Eagles not the East Timorese…

  • Josh

    Bush has all kinds of weaknesses and stupidities. As did Dr. King for that matter. But if the conditions are created for a outbreak of civil rights reform in the Middle East by the President’s actions and rhetoric (including his criticism of Egypt and Saudi Arabia) he will certainly have made a remarkable contribution to the liberation of people throughout the region. He will be worthy of comparison to King. If this comes to pass – and much depends on the summit today – hopefully they will retrieve Arafat’s Nobel to give to Bush.
    At the end of the day I’m reality-based – meaning I’m interested in conditions on the ground for real people. In 1991 I was in Iraq with Saddam in power and, despite the many mistakes in US policy, I cannot will myself not to join in their celebration a week ago. Sorry so many of you are missing the party. Believe me – if you’d seen life under Saddam – you’d be shocked there was anyone critical of removing him (even appreciative of mistaken justifications for doing so).

  • bellatrys

    Josh believes in Potemkin elections, just like the rest of the Potemkin presidency. I bet he doesn’t even know that the symbolic typical Iraqi woman posed for the crowds in the balcony, was an elite exile like Chalabi who’d been out of the country for almost all her life, until coming back with the carpetbaggers – for whom the Iraqis who stayed, openly express their contempt.
    It’s an “election” just like the 1967 elections of Diem in Vietnam.
    You do know they had elections back in the days of the Ba’ath party, don’t you? Most authoritarian regimes manage to keep the facade of a free, fair, popular support. We’ve just changed the uniforms of those with the guns, is all.

  • bellatrys

    You and your pathetic bootlickers to the Party also sound just like the old leftists you condemn, Josh – it doesn’t matter how many people we kill in the name of liberty, what sort of repression and torture we impose for the sake of the freedom of future generations from the shackles of the aristocracy.
    If it was wrong in the days of Lenin and Stalin, why is it right when your side does it?
    Or is it just OKIYAR? That’s not ethics, that’s not a principle, you know.

  • Patrick J. Mullins

    ‘- hopefully they will retrieve Arafat’s Nobel to give to Bush.’ posted by Josh
    I don’t know why Navigator apologized for his ‘rudeness’ nor why civil discourse ought even to be a concern when you write such shit. You are not reality-based, just short-sighted and even stupid, as the above quote proves.
    You can come to Brooklyn and take care of some of the newly homeless Iraqi vets and find them jobs if you’re so fucking reality-based. (By the way, there are a lot of good restaurants in Brooklyn now, even though it’s not as ‘hot’ a place as Iraq.) People like Bush and that nightmare bitch Condoleezza are not interested in ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty,’ which is why they use the words all the time. You’ll find that a lot of people who use the words ‘I love you’ have lots less ‘love chops’ than a lot of people who don’t say it.

  • Avedon

    Ahem. It’s “Or does it explode?”
    Although I find all of this disturbing. I’ve refrained form posting that poem for the last several weeks, and you went and used it now. Argh!
    As to Iraq, I have today been considering the possibility that the real reason for invading Iraq was to re-start the process that put Saddam in power in the first place and thus ensure that Iraq was not left alone long enough to evolve a real democracy. Maybe the sabre-rattling toward Iran is also aimed in that direction.

  • none

    Iran is already a democracy, not a perfect one, but then neither was the one in the ukraine, or the one in afghanistan (afghanistan is a joke compared to Iran).
    God, why are americans just getting more and more vulture like “kaa, we won, kaa, mission accomplished, kaa, kill ratios, kaa, elections”
    Are you just glad that you finally managed to get an election that wasn’t shot full of electoral fraud? Is that how low the bar has been set?

  • Beth

    It’s funny that Josh would have brought up the Palestinians. Wasn’t he afraid that might remind people that the real cause for celebration in the Middle East was not the Iraqi elections but the Palestinian elections? Like the Iraqis, the Palestinians faced down boycots, dangers, and logistical difficulties to get to the polls, but still pulled off a peaceful election with a turnout over 60% (though unlike the Iraqis, the Palestinians didn’t require foreign troops imposing a near-total lockdown to accomplish that). Also, unlike in Iraq, the Palestian votes have already been counted, and the results give us even more reason to cheer than the voter turnout did. The election of a moderate leader wasn’t exactly a surprise, but it was certainly a relief, and the relatively poor showing of more militant candidates gives us even more reason to hope. The Palestinians didn’t simply make their voices heard, they spoke clearly in favor of progress and peace. Also, this vote wasn’t about preparing to create a constitution. They’ve been working on one for a long time and have had a complete working draft for years now. Instead, they elected a president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has already started revitalizing the rotting civil infrastructure and negotiating a ceasefire and withdrawal of foreign troops.
    Of course Josh wasn’t thinking about the elections that occurred without any help from us. He certainly wasn’t thinking of the many years of work that brought us to the point where an independent Palestinian state is starting to look like a real possibility. No, Josh was too busy laying the groundwork for a new myth in which peace, if it does come, will spring fully grown from Bush’s annointed head.

  • Josh

    I’m thrilled about the Palestinian elections – and the fact that the Palestinians did not have to risk their lives in the face of terrorist threats against “democracy”. All three, relatively fair, elections are a source of great hope for me – and should be for everyone.
    And I was precisely “thinking of the many years of work that brought us to the point where an independent Palestinian state is starting to look like a real possibility.” Bush, as the first President to make the establishment of an independent Palestinian state the US policy, assisted tremendously in that. Clinton makes it clear Arafat was an obstacle in this process. Peace, if it comes, comes as least as much from Arafat’s death as any other source.
    What I really find amusing is that many of the responses above have a conspiratorial and apocalyptic ring to them that I find mostly in books like the “Left Behind” series. Meanwhile the civil rights movement of democracy has been sweeping our planet and there is so much reason for hope!
    I joined the left two decades ago inspired by our hope for a better world. Now it seems the left, in the face of so many successful liberation movements, embraces the pessimistic worldview once characteristic only of the apocalyptic fundamentalists. Sorry you’re missing the celebrations…you have become the apocalyptic fundamentalists you scorn.

  • Angry

    It’s a shame you don’t understand what ‘left wing’ really means, and even more of a shame that you are too stupid to get that empty platitudes and GOP speaking points don’t impress anyone.
    100,000 dead in Iraq alone, many many more severly injured.
    And all because of Bush’s incompetance in the handling of this war that wasn’t neccesary and should not have been.
    Did you blog about the elections in febuary 2004? Those elections were held in one of the “Axis of Evil” countries, that election was held in Iran, and they have been holding elections there since the 1980’s.
    And who are the US’ allies against that evil democracy? that would be Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Democracy versus Tyranny, and which side are we on.
    You sir, and people like you, have soured the Iraqi election for me because I know it will be used and is being used as justification for so much Wrongness – from torture to rape and murder – In our name.
    How DARE you, you little chickenshit, make something so hopeful into something so ugly.

  • Josh

    If you think that the removal of Saddam wasn’t necessary you haven’t been listening to the voices of the oppressed in that country. That’s your choice. If the new Iraqi government expresses a consensus that, in light of the incompetence we’ve all seen, they believe the war was wrong – then I will reverse my opinion.
    Angry, I’m glad you also find the election hopeful. As I understand it Iranian elections illustrate significant public dissent – but are highly limited by an unelected totalitarian system. However, since many comments on this board suggest that the US is not a democracy and you say Iran is a democracy, I think your campaign for immigration to Iran may be quite effective here.

  • littlemisskool

    While I can’t put my finger on the underlying context of your posting this poem, I still loved seeing it on your blog, esp after reading “Human Rights Invasion”. Actually Hughe’s poem here is fairly timely as well, seeing as it’s Black History Month — I went to a BHM opening gala last week and an actor recited this very monologue. Very dramatic and meaningful, to say the least. Props to a great blog as well — yours is one I’ll definitely revisit.

  • Steve

    littlemisskool: Its about the Eagles losing the Super Bowl….Fred is from Philadelphia

  • lmk

    ahhhh *relieved* thanks steve for the background — i should have caught on from the “Wait ’til next year” comment. personally i was waiting for the super bowl to end so i could catch The Simpsons and American Dad… alas, i think i hyped myself up too much for the 2 post-Bowl cartoons. anyway, it’s still a timely citation of hughe’s poem.

  • A Texan in Maryland

    I think it’s absolutely wonderful that the majority-Shia electorate was able to vote for the Islamic Theocracy of their dreams. It came at the cost of about 1400 of my fellow Americans and who knows how many Iraqis, but some dreams just cannot be deferred.

  • none

    Actually you have to factor in all the americans who died during 9/11 to get an accurate number of dead americans, as 9/11 was central to the pre-war excuses.
    And to get a truly accurate toll of what Iraq has done to america, you also have to take into account the huge number of severely wounded troops who are never included in the “cost of war” math.