Poetry, Politics, & the Planet

Jay Silverheels

Jay Silverheels, best known for his role as Tonto in “The Lone Ranger,” was also a boxer and lacrosse player and even held a position on Canada’s National Lacrosse Team. He also founded the Indian Actors Workshop in Echo Park, California, which no longer seems to exist.

The number of Native American actors seems quite small today (and includes Heather Locklear?); Off the top of my head, I can only think of Adam Beach, who has a recurring role in the TV show, “Law and Order” and also starred in “Smoke Signals,” adapted from Sherman Alexie’s short story collection, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” by the author. Although after a quick Google search, I came upon this interesting site of 236 nominees, including a number of actors, that responds to the query, “Who is the Greatest Native American?

Moreover, I recently discovered that Silverheels “began to write poetry based on his growing up on the Six Nations Indian Reserve. He also appeared numerous times on television to read his poetry.” I searched but could find none of his poetry online nor did I find any book for purchase that might contain a snippet or two. Does anyone have any of Jay Silverheels’ poetry?


And from today’s Salon, “Obama and Clinton plan to cool it — Earth, that is. Our energy expert cracks open the Democratic candidates’ proposals on global warming — and is impressed.“:

We’ve seen that a President McCain is not likely to be the leader this country and the world need to maintain the planet’s livability for our children and the next 50 generations. What about a President Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? Both would be a giant step forward. Unlike McCain, they have both put out detailed and comprehensive plans. (Obama’s is here. Clinton’s is here.) Although you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage, these plans are more important to the long-term health and well-being of future generations than the candidates’ healthcare or Iraq plans.



“In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves and to our country.” — JFK

“Every segment of our population, and every individual, has a right to expect from his government a fair deal.” –Speech to Congress 6th September 1945, Harry S. Truman

“The busybodies have begun to infect American society with a nasty intolerance — a zeal to police the private lives of others and hammer them into standard forms…” –Lance Morrow

“The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others, and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor.” –Voltaire

“Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.” –Bob Marley

* * * Last week, a secret recording emerged of a disturbing speech by Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern stating that homosexuality is a bigger threat to our nation than “terrorism or Islam.” Rep. Kern has refused to apologize for her remarks.

Hateful speech by elected officials must not be tolerated – especially when hate crimes based on religion and sexual orientation are on the rise.

Tell Oklahoma’s Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President Pro Tempore to publicly condemn Rep. Kern’s statements. * * *

“Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry. Let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.” –Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is non-interference with their own particular ways of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere by violence with ours.” –Williams James

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” –Oscar Wilde

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it.” –Tallulah Bankhead

“If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all.” –Billie Holiday


“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” –Hermann Goering, (1893-1946) Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler’s designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” –Joseph Goebbels

“As Americans, we want peace — we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.” –George W. Bush, October 7, 2002

“Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at [past nuclear] sites.” —–George W. Bush, Speech to the nation (10/7/2002)

“We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.” –George W. Bush, September 7, 2003

“I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn’t yet.” –Bush News Conference (04/13/04)

“I think we agree, the past is over.” –George W. Bush, On his meeting with John McCain, Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000

“I’m sorry to tell you, there’s going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars.” –John McCain, January 2008

“Make it a hundred…That would be fine with me.” –John McCain to a questioner who asked if he supported President Bush’s vision for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 50 years

“Any excuse will serve a tyrant.” –Aesop

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” –Albert Camus

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised ‘for the good of its victims’ may be the most oppressive.” –C. S. Lewis

“Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.” –Bruce Springsteen

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” –Edward Abbey

“There are many terrorist states in the world, but the United States is unusual in that it is officially committed to international terrorism.” –Noam Chomsky

“It’s very common for the victims to understand a system better than the people who are holding the stick.” –Noam Chomsky

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

“I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” –Mark Twain

“The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments.” –Michael Parenti

“You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.” –Billie Holiday

Additional Quotes found here.


Education Poetry Politics

AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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