28 February 2010

This Day in History: The Republican Party is born...

Today in 1854, a small group of abolitionists, former Democrats and Whigs, and those known as Free Soilers, met in a church in Ripon, Wisconsin, in order to join forces in fighting against the expansion of slavery into the Western territories of America. This unlikely group of men set anti-slavery resolutions and agreed to meet the following month. This meeting marked the birth of the Republican Party, named in honor of Jefferson's Democratic-Republican party, which stood for the 1776 republican values of equality and opposition against corruption and an aristocratic class.

Slavery had been an issue in America since the formation of American democracy. In order to unite the Southern colonies, the slavery issue had to be set aside, because without a union Americans would have surely fallen against the British. However, by 1820, the Missouri Compromise brought slavery into the limelight of politics; later to be overturned by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the same year as the Republican Party's establishment. Still it would take seven years for the slavery issue and the issue of state's rights to break out in a Civil War—Jefferson even foresaw this war between the States during the infancy of the United States.

During the 1864 election, Radical Republicans and pro-war Democrats nominated Abraham Lincoln as their choice for president. Lincoln would become America's first Republican president during a time when the nation's union was at the greatest threat.

Currently Steven Spielberg is producing and directing a film entitled "Lincoln," based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," set to be released in 2011. Liam Neeson has been cast as the the Great Emancipator. Robert Redford is also producing a Lincoln film entitled "The Conspirator," based on Mary Surrat's involvement in the conspiracy of Lincoln's assassination, set to be released sometime this year.

03 February 2010

The Mists of Avalon: An Imagery Poem

This morning I was reading old poems, stories, and essays from high school and middle school. It is so interesting to me how far I have come grammatically and lyrically with my writer's voice. So many things change as you mature, experience more life, and learn more. In high school I had this fascination for Camelot literature and history. Several of my short stories and poems were based on Arthurian legend. One in particular fascinates me and I thought I would post the poem here and share it with my readers. It was inspired by the novel The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, particularly from the cover artwork.

In a land far, far away

Like a star in the galaxy.

There is magic as strong as faith.

The land is known as Avalon.

Now many wonder about this land.

Valleys of green fields as lush as velvet.

Gray skies that come low and high,

But within the mists of the swamp

That is as fluffy white as cream

That’s where the magic beams.

A broad gray pony lives there like a squirrel.

His owner on his back like

The queen of Pearels.

Like wings of a raven

Her hair blows in the wind.

Her gown glistens like gems.

Her face as white as snow,

And in her eyes

There are blue pools of water.

Her lips are as red as blood.

At her side, in her hand

There is a sword

Known as Excaliber.

The sword gleams like the moon.

Its golden handle holds on to its beams.

At the precise time as dawn she comes.

On her pony she circles the pond

Like a bolt of lightening she makes her rounds.

Nothing is missing all is well.

If you believe in magic you will see her.

Her hair jet-black,

Her skin so white.

Maybe you’ll see her eyes like drops of rain.

Maybe you’ll see her blood lips curl.

Smiling mischievously.

Maybe you will see

Excaliber gleaming like a dream.

Maybe you will see her gown of gems

Glistening in the moistly mist

Like sparkling rain.

Maybe you’ll see the whisk of a gray tail

Like a flash of a memory.

Those who don’t know of magic

If they’re lucky they’ll hear

Music of the magicians.

A snort of the gray pony,

Or the lady’s song.

Like a chorus of angels

She sings her song.

Like an echo of bees Excaliber hums.

Like gurgling toads

The water hits against the pond’s banks.

Those were the clippity-clops of her pony

On her dawn investigation

In the mists of Avalon.

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