Bread and Roses

Presented to the Democratic Party’s, “Will Rogers Gala,” Feb. 21, 2015
by James Ciletti (c) 2015

Good evening, I am honored to have this opportunity to share my words, Bread and Roses with you. Thank you Christi and Kathleen for asking me.
And especially, to all of you, thank you for doing the one thing we must all do now more than ever: show up and stand up — to support our party and our democratic values. Tonight our event affirms our right to free assembly and free speech, protected for us by hundreds of thousands of our men and women in uniform now, and since the American Revolution. We praise you and thank you.

Bread and Roses
Over on Nevada Avenue, horse-bound General Palmer surveys his Fountain Colony, now our Colorado Springs, to see us working to blossom into his dream community where we all can earn and enjoy bread for the body to survive and prosper — and roses for our human spirit to thrive.

Bread and Roses. Survive, Prosper, and Thrive.
Tonight, we’ve gathered to support Jefferson’s dream of what seems to some a utopian democracy, we’ve gathered to support and enjoy, especially, our constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, without religious, financial, racial, social, gender, marital, or sexual prejudice.

Focus on the family?  Oh Yes!  We focus on the family, the family of mankind. To those who call us bleeding heart liberals because we want every child to have a full tummy, sleep in a warm home, wear a warm coat; we proudly wear the merit badge of Bleeding Heart Liberal.

Because we want every American to have the opportunity for meaningful employment with equal pay for equal work, affordable housing,  education, and post-graduate job opportunities for our students, excellent health care, we proudly wear our merit badge: bleeding heart liberal;

For our community to sustain moderate growth in environmental balance within this incredible Rocky Mountain Garden of Eden, and for all of us to thrive, support, and celebrate our diversity, then happily yes, broadcast it to the world: WE STAND UP  to protect our earth for now and the future.

Furthermore, tonight we also gather to donate our resources and moral support to nourish and protect a vital democratic process, the process that gives every eligible citizen the opportunity to vote for the candidates and issues of their choice.  We donate our resources and vote for candidates who support moral integrity, beauty and dignity in our lives.

Bread . . . Roses — Democracy and the Arts like brother and sister to uplift the body and spirit of mankind. Democracy makes the arts possible and the arts demonstrate and share the vision of democracy, including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

Like our libraries, the arts are color blind, are gender blind, avoid religious prejudice, support social justice, and educate us about and celebrate our common bonds in the family of man.

Now, we all know the first things demagogues, dictators and tyrannical rulers do, they silence writers, poets and artists. In Chile, Neruda was exiled; the poet Lorca in Spain shot and killed by Franco, and we can only imagine the purges of the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein.

hen nay-sayers complain about budgets for better schools, scholarships, education, job training skills, cultural programs and public television and radio, opportunity for the middle class and the poor, medical care for everyone, that’s when we stand up and say, “What do you think our men and women are fighting for?”

Democracy and the Arts, Brother and Sister.
Bread to Survive and Prosper With Roses to Thrive.
To paraphrase John Kennedy:
The arts reflect the civilization we are and can become.

And the words that truly support the arts to freely create and science to explore come from Thomas Jefferson:  “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man . . . and woman.

This moment, our mutual gathering, is a reflection of our identity and values, political, educational, moral, social, economic, and cultural in our shared dialog and communion.

Someday Palmer and his horse may rust and for sure we’ll pass our final breath to dust; Mortals we are, yes, but steadfast in our democratic values and work to create a community here and across the nation, a community where mankind has bread enough to survive and prosper, with roses for our spirit to thrive.

We know what we stand for.
We know what we are fighting for.
Bread and Roses.
Praise to all of you gathered here tonight
Thank you.
(I added “woman” to Jefferson’s words.)


About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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