“The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing”

For the Tea with Transcendentalists challenge (I know it’s not an official event anymore, I don’t think, but I’m still going to do a post or two this month just for fun), I offer the following Whitmanian sentiment on Election Day.

Thank you Facebook friend for sharing this link, and BookRiot’s Jeff O’Neal for posting it:

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing 
   and disappearing,

Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:

—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating—America’s 
   choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, 
   Virginia, California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,

The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

— “Election Day,” by Walt Whitman (1884)

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