Go Forth

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My roommate in college always believed that if I were ever to bleed, vivid red, white and blue liquid would flow in a fashion similar to the colored bands in toothpaste. By that account, it would be easy to guess that I’m a pro-American patriot in every sense of the word and that the Fourth of July means a lot to me. I stumbled across this on the CR Review and thought it was appropriate given the date and current situation:

I am the new American Pioneer. Looking forward, never back.
No longer content to wait for better times…
I will work for better times.
‘Cause no one built this country in suits. All I need is all I got.
Bruises heal. Stink is good.

And apathy is death.

So I strike up for the new world! A newer, mightier world.
The one I will make to my liking.
For after the darkness comes the dawn – there will be a better tomorrow.
Look across the plains and mountains and see America’s eternal promise.

A promise of progress. Go forth with me.

Go Forth.

Walt Whitman has been claimed as America’s first “poet of democracy”, a title meant to reflect the singularly American character of his writing. A British friend of Walt Whitman, Mary Smith Whitall Costelloe, wrote: “You cannot really understand America without Walt Whitman, without Leaves of Grass…” Whitman was an optimist during one of the darkest periods in American history and drew his strength from that struggle.  Below is his poem “America.”

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

The new campaign for Levi’s by Wieden + Kennedy Portland airs in the next few days and draws on the brand’s heritage as the quintessential American jeans. According to executive creative director Susan Hoffman the goal was to “refresh and reinvent the idea of a pioneering spirit for the times in which we live”. One of the more interesting parts of the spot is that it features what is believed to be an original wax recording of Whitman reading his 1888 poem “America.”

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Fourth of July!

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