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Karren LaLonde Alenier

Quotes From Gertrude Stein In This Election Season

It is always a mistake to be plain-spoken.
"As Eighty" from Bee Time Vine (1953, Yale University Press); written in 1923.


Politicians cannot survive if they are plain spoken, meaning they are candid, outspoken, honest, truthful, unequivocal, unambiguous. Someone who strives to be president of the United States must be diplomatic, meaning he or she must avoid offending others.


We have two candidates for president and the Steiny Road Poet offers that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, is a consummate politician. She has done the homework. She has served the American public in various ways. Is she always truthful? It is not a question that a politician should be asked. The better question is what good has she done for the communities served? 


Is Donald Trump, the GOP candidate for president plain spoken? Well, from Mr. Trump’s point of view, Steiny thinks the Donald is promoting himself as speaking the truth but in reality Trump says whatever comes to mind without consideration for any kind of standards. To be plain spoken implies a moral edge as well as the ability to speak from an accumulation of knowledge. Certainly Trump is not a politician. Trump is a businessman who is most interest in self-promotion. For him, there is no greater good.


Ladies there is no neutral position for us to assume.

Libretto for the opera The Mother Of Us All by Virgil Thomson (1947), from Last Operas and Plays (1949).


Women have a lot to lose in this election if Donald Trump wins, including reproductive rights. For the first time in US history, we could be led by a woman and a woman who has a history of helping women all over the world to establish equal rights with men.


I just tell you and though I dont sound like it I've got plenty of sense, there ain’t any answer, there ain’t going to be any answer, there never has been any answer, that’s the answer.
Brewsie and Willie (1946), Ch. 7.


To Steiny what Gertrude Stein is pointing to is absolute truth. Stein says therefore there is no single answer. However, human beings still have to ask questions and explore what resolution is possible. We need a president who doesn’t kowtow to dictators like Putin and who will keep fingers off the nuclear button.


Clarity is of no importance because nobody listens and nobody knows what you mean no matter what you mean, nor how clearly you mean what you mean. But if you have vitality enough of knowing enough of what you mean, somebody and sometime and sometimes a great many will have to realize that you know what you mean and so they will agree that you mean what you know, what you know you mean, which is as near as anybody can come to understanding any one
Four in America (1933).


To have a working community and viable country to live in, communication is essential as well as collaboration and cooperation. Do it my way or the highway might be a clear message delivered by Donald Trump but this is the United States of America where we have a constitution that guides us in how to govern. Is there any evidence that Donald Trump has read our constitution?


Do you know because I tell you so, or do you know, do you know.

Libretto for the opera The Mother Of Us All by Virgil Thomson (1947), from Last Operas and Plays (1949).


Let us not be a nation of sheep led to slaughter. There are consequences for making an uninformed choice for president.

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Scene4 Magazine — Karren Alenier

Karren LaLonde Alenier's most recent book is
The Steiny Road to Operadom: The Making of American Operas. She is a Senior Writer for Scene4.
Read her Blog.
For her other commentary and articles,
check the Archives.

©2016 Karren LaLonde Alenier
©2016 Publication Scene4 Magazine


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October 2016

Volume 17 Issue 5

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