Poem for 4th July: America First

America First is life and liberty

America First is Mohammed Ali and Billie Jean King

And Kate Millett and Malcolm X

America First is Arthur Miller and Harper Lee

And Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe and Walt Whitman

America First is Maya Angelou and Allen Ginsburg

America First is Sharon Olds and Patti Smith


America First is the pursuit of happiness

America First is Johnny Cash and Elvis

And Muddy, the Wolf and John Lee

America First is Tamla, Stax, Philly and Funkadelic

And Hank Williams and Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington

America First is the Velvet Underground, the Doors, the Stooges

America First is Bruce and Dylan and Woody


America First starts with We The People

America First is Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins

America First is FDR and Martin Luther King

America First is the Village, the Haight and the Castro

America First is Woodstock and Wounded Knee

America First is Selma and the Battle of Chicago

America First sings we shall overcome.

Herald letter: civility, reasonableness and compromise.

ALAN Roden is quite right to make his plea for civility in politics, and every reasonable person would wish him well (“End the toxicity in politics and agree top disagree well”, The Herald, July 2).

However, it is easy to recall that, after the 2014 referendum, the UK Government and the parties that had succeeded in convincing a majority that we are better together, made a massive compromise and reasonably negotiated extra powers for the Scottish Parliament. However, rather than accept the Smith Commission compromise, the SNP has continued in its fundamentalist pursuit of the goal of independence, rejected by two million Scots.

Likewise, the outcome of the Brexit referendum was a close win for Leave. The reasonable position here is that the UK should leave the EU but on terms that are the closest possible to membership. Like the SNP, however, the fundamentalist Brexiters tell us daily that any compromise European Economic Area/European Free Trade Agreement-plus type arrangement would not be acceptable.

The insistence of the SNP and its Brexiter counterparts on the strident and uncompromising pursuit of their dogmatic objectives is at the root of the incivility from which Mr Roden distances himself. It is a feature of the age of referendums in which we live that civility, reasonableness and compromise will always be in short supply. We are all much poorer for that sad fact.

Peter A. Russell