Flashback: A Candidate Announces His Running Mate at Market Square

Friedrich Nietzsche Meets Langston Hughes 
(Click here to listen to Friedrich Nietzsche Meets Langston Hughes on YouTube)

Wagner: 
     Okay, did anybody go down? One of our political candidates announced his running mate down at Market Square. I don’t want to mention his name. 

Audience Member: 
     Why? 

Wagner: 
     Because Dave says we should stand above the fray of politics, and I, um… 

Dave Maund: 
     Friedrich Nietzsche said that. 

Wagner: 
     Oh, Friedrich Nietzsche said that. Oh, oh, it wasn’t “the fray of politics.” 

Dave Maund: 
     He said to rise above the ephemeral babble of politics. 

Wagner: 
     The ephemeral babble, that’s right. Yeah! 
     Well, uh, when he was down there, this, this candidate, he read a Langston Hughes poem.
     Did ya happen to catch that? 

     Now, I happen to know, being, you know, a college guy, that Langston Hughes subscribed to an unusual political philosophy which,
     again, we want to stay above the ephemeral babble of politics
     so I’m not gonna talk about his political philosophy, except that my favorite Langston Hughes poem is called, “Good Morning, Revolution.” 

     I’m lucky I was born too late to be drafted, and I was old early enough to not have to fight in any of this Persian Gulf stuff,
     so I have never really done anything to earn the freedoms that we enjoy.
     But I would like to honor the people who have sacrificed for my freedom by perhaps someday
     saying something worthy of Freedom of Speech,
     writing something worthy of Freedom of the Press,
     knowing people worthy of Freedom of Association,
     and, uh, you know, making freedom at least worth having. 

ALL OF MY FRIENDS 
(Click here to listen to ALL OF MY FRIENDS on YouTube)

All of my friends turned into fanatics 
With terrible secrets hidden up in their attics, 
Closets full of skeletons and old bones 
They only bring out to play with when nobody’s home. 
All of my friends are on somebody’s list 
of Undesirables and Anarchists 
It’s not even safe to admit that you’re one of my friends. 

All of my friends know cause and effect. 
We’re notably known for abuse and neglect. 
We’re natural targets. We’re perfect to blame. 
None of my friends ever runs out of shame. 
All of my friends have taken some kind of rap, 
But your biggest weapon is your handicap. 
Nothing much good ever happens to none of my friends. 

Carving a niche between dust and the ether. 
Walking in circles, we’re limping along. 
Stuck in a ditch, but I’m a believer. 
I don’t know much except right and wrong. 
Oh, what comedy. Oh, what torture. 
Oh, what stories we will tell someday someday. 

None of my friends ever has to lose face. 
We’re walking in beauty, walking in grace, 
Marching like sheep to the slaughterhouse blade. 
We’re the prize-winning herd at the Macy’s Parade. 
None of my friends ever made the first team. 
If you’re going to hell, why not go to extremes? 
Gently down the stream go none of my friends. 
A vanguard of vultures in rarified air, 
With the high-priest of culture, we kneel down for a prayer 
For the lesbian couples with their turkey-basters 
And the amateur, connoisseur cyanide-tasters. 
All of my friends, wind-scattered and blown 
Never get too close to the foot of the throne 
But they’re the best people I’ve ever known. 

Carving a niche between dust and the ether… 

Someday, someday, 
Someday, someday.

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