The One In The Glass

On Valentine’s Day, 2021….

An unused card found in my cache of stuff yesterday.

Friday’s e-mail brought this from our friend, Annelee Woodstrom, retired high school teacher, Teacher of the Year finalist in Minnesota in 1980, 94 years young, whose first 21 years of life were spent in Germany, including the entirety of the Third Reich, and who came to rural Minnesota as an immigrant, in 1947, the state which became and remains her home and native land.

Annelee:  I gave this poem to my students before they left my classes.


When you get what you want in your struggle for self,

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,

And see what the man has to say.


For it isn’t a man’s mother or father or wife,

Whose judgment you have to pass;

The fellow whose verdict counts most in this life

       Is the man staring back from the glass.


Some people may think you’re a straight-shooting chum

       And call you a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.


He is the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,

       For he is with you, clear up to the end,

And you have passed your most dangerous, difficult test

When the man in glass is your friend.


You can fool the whole world, down the pathway of years,

       And get pats on your back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

       If you have cheated the man in the glass.


I looked up the above poem, here it is.  It reminds me of Michael Jacksons, “The Man In The Mirror, as performed by Michael in 1987 (who may, himself, have read the poem in his own school days).

Here is the rest of Annelee’s note:

I wish I could hand this poem to every Republican Representative and Senator who plans to vote against the impeachment of Trump. Surely, they must shudder at the image  that stares back at them from their mirror. The coward that they have become — must shake their soul.

Because — in the end it doesn’t count where we came from — we will be responsible and we will be judged by the decisions we made.


POSTNOTE at the end of the week: How was this week just passed for you – this week that began with the Super Bowl, ends with Valentine’s Day, today, was surrounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and general uncertainty about many things, and in between was what may well be one of the most important weeks in our personal and national history?

This past week, as I saw it can be read at this space at Feb 6, 7, 9 and 12, 2021.  Let’s build from here….  Have a good day.

What remains of the ruins of Gandhi Mahal at 27th and Lake Minneapolis, as they appeared on Feb. 13, 2021.  In the background the Lutheran Church and the library which survived Memorial Day week 2020.  Gone: the postoffice and all of the businesses that stood on the east side of the street.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Christina: I just forwarded your email to my kids and my sister. I thought the message from that school teacher, the man in the glass, was so important and appropriate. I too wish that everyone of those senators and representatives had read that before they voted.  Thanks for sending it to me.

from Anna: Happy Valentines  Day to you and all your followers in your writings.  They have been insightful and helping some people in making their decisions about our political process going on in our world of today.  This is a difficult time for some. Hopefully we will come out stronger at the end of our times of stress.  No opinions from me just compassion for the ones going through unreal times.

from Flo: I can only say I’m sad. From the time T….. appeared on the political scene as wanting to run for President, I was appalled that anyone could support his very public sleazy lifestyle and mostly juvenile talk. Then he became President, seemingly defying all odds. We’re a dangerously divided country, politically.

from Jeff: from NYTimes “Can Biden Save Americans Like My Old Pal Mike?”  [Here’s the link; also in pdf form: NYTimes Kristoff Feb 14 2021  This may be expanded into a separate blog in the near future.].

From Annelee (who sent the poem printed above):

thanks for putting that poem in your blog.  I truly feel to this day that most of the Republican Representatives and Senators would look in the Mirror and be honest with whom the have to face. After they have somehow become millionaires,  it seems they just want more, the laws they pass must first help them, never mind the voters who believed their promises and voted them in.
Look at Cruz, he tells the people “to stay home” but that rule doesn’t apply for him?  One of the Trump supporters said to me, “Annelee If I would be in Texas and had the money to get my  family to a place where they are warm and could be safe, I fly out too.  I am sorry [?] will do for us.”
I can’t go along with with the Congress voting for  getting $15 hr through for taking 4 years? Is that really what President Biden had in mind?  Are the workers who voted him in forgotten already?
In my book, he doesn’t really need the Congress or Senators, if he goes to the people, and tells them,
“I promised you $15 an hr. but i need your help to get it through.  call you representatives and tell them  if they want your support, they need to vote for that bill.”
Even the workers in the Red States are for the increase. wait four years?
Dick, on Facebook, in response to the poem my former students wrote wonderful comments, but one of my most intelligent students, his mother president of the school board at the time wrote,   Think, it was the Democrats who planned the riots for Jan. 6, …. and on. I thought I taught  critical thinking”  I guess somewhere I missed!
Dick, I am sorry to rattle on like this, but I am really concerned at where we are going as a nation.  Trump speaking next week his party will listen.
6 replies
  1. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    Your poem, Dick, is on target for every Republican who voted to acquit the would-be dictator who occupied the office of the POTUS. McConnell is the poorest excuse for an American leader because of his key position in the Senate. He wants it both ways. His speech about Trump being responsible for the insurrection and the acts of the rioters, including murder, re-stated what anybody with a sane mind knew. Yet he voted to let the criminal president off the hook. Why? He was just re-elected to another six years. What is he afraid of? Our North Dakota Senators Hoeven and Cramer are hopeless cowards whose favorite position is crouching under their desks. Faith in and support of our democracy is up to all of us – including those chicken-hearted Republicans who, after watching clear evidence, were more concerned about pleasing their right-wing extremist base than upholding their oath and serving our country’s best interests.

  2. norman hanson
    norman hanson says:

    Thanks, Dick, and also to Larry Gauper for his great response. If Trump were to look at the man in the glass, he would see nothing but a man that he thinks should be the king and/or the authoritarian dictator of the United States just like Putin whom he admired for his control over the populace and the press and for which, 43-Republicans senators including Multi-jowl, in spite of his post impeachment conviction vote speech, must think was just fine! Yes sirree, Bob, no doubt great Americans all…and, of course, the most devout and impeccable Christians all while wrapped in the Flag and claiming to be super patriotic to the Constitution! The same Constitution that they apparently thought that it was okay for the POTUS to try to overthrow! If any of us were standing behind Donnie when looking at the glass, we would have seen a very insecure, ignorant, arrogant, narcissistic, five-time draft dodger who became the commander in chief of all US military servicemen and women all of whom he characterized as suckers and losers for serving in or having served in those forces! That same SOB who always wrapped himself and the podium in the American flags every time he spoke in public! Nah, if that SOB looked into the glass, the poor glass would have shattered into a million shards out of embarrassment for what it was seeing!

  3. Ken Thimmesch
    Ken Thimmesch says:

    Dick, I am sure you are unhappy that Trump got acquited, but I am happy. Polosi knew he would not be convicted but proceeded with impeachment, WHY? It’s all about the Democrats hatred for Trump and his voters that elected him. Now the cancel culture club is on the warpath. With hatred in their mind and hatred in their blood, they must bury Trump and his supporters. Also I am happy the Governors of California and New York are under fire, especially New York’s for his murder of thousands of seniors. Consider his treatment of seniors to the the treatment of Jews under Hitler. Dick, this my opinion but can we agree to disagree? I won’t bash your opinion if you agree not to bash mine!

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      I concur with Marion’s comment. I write almost all of these posts – on rare occasions, such as today, the commentary comes from others, including in comments such as yours. I don’t censor or edit those. When Trump first ran I had almost zero knowledge of him. I had never (and still haven’t) seen any episode of his TV show, and the only personal knowledge, other than he was some rich guy from New York City, was that he had never run for any public office, and that concerned me greatly, since I know how difficult a job it is to represent fairly differing points of view, regardless of how small or large the group is. I do suggest that Trump will go down in history as the worst President this country has ever had. There will be future pretenders at being despots. I hope we’ve learned our lesson.

  4. Mary Gabriel
    Mary Gabriel says:

    I too went in with my best attitude towards Trump, but as it turned out, in my eyes, far worse than I ever expected. I am so mad that this horrid person wasn’t impeached, as now we will pay millions each year for security, his pension & whatever he can dig up. How about sending him a bill for repairing the Capitol building? But it’s not over, more will come out, more lawsuits, more money defending this person. Feeling disgusted!


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