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posted: 1/20/2014 5:00 AM

Seeing Coleridge in American politics

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Perhaps Chris Christie should have read Samuel Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere" before he decided to run for governor of New Jersey again. Likewise, Richard Nixon. The poem, Coleridge's longest, was written and published in 1798, 175 years before Watergate and 215 years before Bridgegate. It tells the story of a sailor who kills an albatross, the seafaring harbinger of good fortune, and as punishment must wear the albatross around his neck until he finally realizes his sin and prays for forgiveness.

The albatross falls to the deck and he is partially restored. Richard Nixon resigned, hoping that the remainder of his life might restore some of the qualities this nation thought of in him when he was re-elected. Chris Christie, if he is at all complicit in the Fort Lee scandal, should realize that what is at stake is not his political future but that his remaining days in private life be dedicated to altruistic ends in hopes that he might be redeemed.

All current and future politicians, incumbents or those seeking office, should avoid any questionable policies connected with the word "water." The Ancyent Marinere survived, so can he.

James D. Cook


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