With less than 40 days to go before the 2012 presidential election, poet and activist Alice Walker reads her new poem, "Democratic Womanism," on Democracy Now. Full transcript here:
You ask me why I smilewhen you tell me you intendin the coming national electionsto hold your noseand vote for the lesser of two evils.There are more than two evils out there,is one reason I smile.Another is that our old buddy Nostradamuscomes to mind, with his fearful400 year old prophecy: that our worldand theirs too(our “enemies” – lots of kids included there)will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of electionsand the billions of dollars wasted on themsomewhat fatuous.A Southerner of Color,my people held the votevery dearwhile others, for centuries,merely appeared to playwith it.One thing I can assureyou of is this:I will never betray such pure heartsby voting for evileven if it were microscopicwhich, as you can see in any newscastno matter the slant,it is not.I want something else;a different systementirely.One not seenon this earthfor thousands of years. If ever.Democratic Womanism.Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?That’s one reason I like it. He is right there, front and center. But he is surrounded.I want to vote and work for a way of lifethat honors the feminine;a way that acknowledgesthe theft of the wisdomfemale and dark Mother leadershipmight have provided our spaceshipall along.I am not thinkingof a talking headkind of gal:happy to be mixingit upwith the baddestbad boyson the planether eyes a slither mouth a zipper.No, I am speaking of trueregime change.Where women riseto take their placeen masseat the helmof earth’s frail and failing ship;where each thousand yearsof our silenceis examinedwith regret,and the cruel manner in which our valuesof compassion and kindnesshave been ridiculedand suppressedbrought to bear on the disasterof the present time.The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leaveit there.I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhapsSocialist, Womanism.For who else knows so deeplyhow to share but Mothersand Grandmothers? Big sistersand Aunts?To loveand adoreboth female and male?Not to mention those in between.To work at keepingthe entire communityfed, educatedand safe?Democratic womanism,Democratic SocialistWomanism,would have as its iconssuch fierce warriorsfor good asVandana ShivaAung San Suu Kyi,Wangari MaathaiHarriet TubmanYoko OnoFrida KahloAngela Davis& Barbara Lee:With new ones always rising, wherever you look.You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem! So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there. Happy to be surrounded!There is no systemThere is no systemnow in placethat can changethe disastrous coursethe Earth is on.Who can doubt this?The male leadersof Earthappear to have abandonedtheir very sensesthough most appearto live nowentirelyin their heads.They murder humans and otheranimalsforests and rivers and mountainsevery daythey are in officeand never seemto notice it.They eat and drink devastation.Women of the world,Women of the world,Is this devastation Us?Would we kill whole continents for oil(or anything else)rather than limitthe number of consumer offspring we produceand learn how to make our own fire?Democratic Womanism.Democratic Socialist Womanism.A system of governancewe can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizesat least six thousand yearsof brutally enforced complicityin the assassinationof Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand yearsahead of us when we will not submit.What will we need? A hundred yearsat least to plan: (five hundred will be handed usgladlywhen the planet is scared enough)in which circles of women meet,organize ourselves, and,allied with menbrave enough to stand with women,men brave enough to stand with women,nurture our planet to a degree of health.And without apology —-(impossible to makea bigger mess than has been made already) -—devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother shipand with gratitudefor Her care of usworshipfully committorehabilitating it.