What poetry has to say about “the mob at the gate”
[ by Charles Cameron — Donald Trump and Joy Reid. meet CP Cavafy ]
Donald Trump has been repeating a mantra tying Dems to the word mob recently — here’s one example:
“Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs!” @realDonaldTrump
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 19, 2018
Belay that! For Trump “the mob at the gates” might equally, scarily, be that “caravan” in Mexico, making its way up to a confrontation with US troops at the border, and no doubt paid for their troubles by George Soros —
Take your camera. Go into the middle. You’ll find MS-13. You’ll find Middle Easterners..
Hold it: that’s a powerful image.
But Joy Reid saw the mob differently:
The mob are WOMEN.
Democrats, the caravan, women — take the mob at the gates as you will, there’s a considerable force, on the outside, massing and pressing to come in. And poetry has something to say about that (recurrent) situation. In the words of CP Cavafy‘s celebrated poem, Waiting for the Barbarians:
What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?
Because the barbarians are coming today.
What’s the point of senators making laws now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?
But I’ll invite you to read the answer to that question, and the rest of the poem, powerful as it is, on the Poetry Foundation site..
Cavafy has one possible outcome — but there may be as many as there are mobs, or people perceiving them.
In any case, enjoy the poem, and vote.