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Susanna Speier

Susanna Speier

Posted May 2, 2009 | 01:11 PM (EST)

Politikuing the Obama Administration's First 100 Days


Politiku is my attempt to capture the ever morphing emotional response to the political landscape. I began posting them on my blog less than a year ago during the 2008 DNC. Shortly after, I was inspired to Politiku about Sarah Palin and before I knew it, my then low-traffic blog was getting Politiku submission from people who'd discovered what I was up to through the search engines. Since Facebook informed me which of my friends were in D.C. for the inauguration, soliciting eyewitness Politikus for the event was a piece of cake. Then, the first 100 days began. Some of the Politikus were written earlier on. The bulk of them, however, were written in response to a day 99 Facebook summons and are posting as a retrospective on the 101st day.

Structurally, Politiku draws its inspiration from Haiku, the traditional Japanese 17-syllable, 5-7-5 poem that most of you probably learned about in 5th grade. Like Haiku, Politiku is characterized by a Kigo, or seasonal reference. Here's the variation, though. Politiku replaces the traditional Kigo with a contemporary political reference. Politiku also draws inspiration from the Senryu, a more playful variation of Haiku that reveals insights about human nature, rather than insights about natural world, the way that Haiku does.

There is some debate as to whether or not westerners should be adapting that traditional 5-7-5 haiku structure we all know so well but I've chosen to stick with it and here's why. Politics is anything but relaxing. Even hearing the good news can be stressful at times. What I've found with Politiku, however, is that the 5-7-5 restriction gives a sense of stability to the experience of writing it.

The fact that I am now able to use media like blogs and Facebook (and, yes, eventually, I will also have to start to tweet) to summon multiple simultaneous responses on any given political stimulus is amazingly grounding, nurturing and comforting. I've also found the sense solidarity it creates to be surprisingly addictive.

While the Politikus in this post were solicited from friends (many of whom have been regular loyal Politiku contributors) during the 24 hours leading up to Obama's historic first 100 days milestone, I encourage anyone who enjoys reading them to give it a shot. If you like what you come up with, please post it and as long as it is topical and adheres to the structures I have outlined, I'll add it to the post.

J Holtham's Politiku

One hundred days in
FOX News bellows from rafters
But history wins

Puppies, bank bailouts,
Handshakes, iPods, Specter flips,
Nothing breaks his stride

After eight dumb years,
One hundred days of smart is
Like a springtime morn

When I get worried about
The world, I think, "Obama,"
And it's all okay.

Irene Cullen Gravina's Politiku

When Obama won
The world held its breath-and now
Begins to exhale

Dan Keefe's Politiku

They have a dog now
Dulled pen concedes to the sword
They like to garden

Jason Rosenbaum's Politiku

One hundred days in
President Obama is
In deep, but not down.

Arlen Spector Dem./
Veto-proof majority/
Obama pwns Reps!

Jerome Coopersmith's Politiku

One hundred days crossed.
Now Rush, Sean, Dick, Bill, Annie -
Admit it, you lost!

Hollie Overton's Politiku

No more Texas bull
Obama is stepping up
Gotta keep the faith

Money woes abound
Bailouts just keep on coming
Change is all we have

Ralph Dannheisser's Politiku

A hundred days in,
Obama impresses with
his grasp of the job.

Cedar Reiner's Politiku

The Onion Headline
Black Man Given Country's Worst Job
Seems to get more true

As time passes by.
Bush opened Pandoras Box
Obama shut it.

Now clean up the mess
Left by Florida's ballots
with more than just hope.

Karen Goldner's Politiku

Not felt good in years
But Obama gives us
Adult in the room

A world in crisis
But somehow people have hope
It must be Barack.

Susanna Speier's Politiku

Fly to Tokyo?
Seriously, the yen's down!
Still can't afford to

Logos wont fix this.
Will recovery dot gov?
Too early to tell

We bail their bonus.
A.I.G. is SO busted.
If they're bust-a-ble...

Fed infuses more
One trillion is a large sum
Where does it come from?

Left handed batter
steps up to the plate. The pitch:
banks, pirates, swine flu...

The first hundred days
has flaws in its achievements
but no pants on fire

Elijah's wine is
not yet in the arteries
brace for more job loss

Bitter herb recalls
when we were slaves in Egypt
chag sameach