The Question Not Asked, by Jacqueline Jules

Have you no sense of decency?—Joseph Welch at the Army-McCarthy hearings, June 9, 1954

A bully’s baseless crusade
ended on national television
when a man dared to ask.

Have you no sense of decency?

With one direct question
in 1954, a nation drunk on fear
and sensational claims
suddenly sobered.

Censured and chastised,
the bully disappeared
as the public turned away,
stopped listening to lies.

Frenzied supporters
did not scale the walls of Congress
demanding an end to democracy
the way they did in January 2021
when the question was not asked.

Have you no sense of decency?


Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including Amethyst Review, The Sunlight Press, Gyroscope Review, and One Art. Visit