Things are shitty. People are pissed. And the usual players on the fringe left are already promising trouble. As they hope to, they’ll have an effect much bigger than their actual numbers would indicate. Not a good one, though.
Peaceful protest has never achieved anything, they say. Voting is useless.
So, what exactly is the plan here? Will there be a Guillotine?
These are the voices of rage. I understand the rage. I share the rage, but I try not to let it take the wheel or take over my heart.
Peaceful protest has never achieved anything. Voting is useless. The nifty thing about dogma is you don’t ever have to question it. If something is repeated often enough, it becomes true. It’s like religion that way. And pardon me for thinking religion is not, historically, the most righteous way to run a world.
If you put a frog in water and gradually heat it, it will boil to death. Ten percent of us are gay. Glass is a slow liquid. You lose most of your heat through your head. Everything’s going to be all right.
Well, let’s see. Only if you don’t give the frog a way to jump out. No, but some of us may be ten percent gay. No it’s not. No you don’t. And no, it probably won’t.
Sustained peaceful protest, especially against clear oppression and violence, absolutely has changed minds, laws, society. The grape boycott. The bus boycott in Montgomery. The Singing Revolution in Estonia. The Suffrage parade. The success record for violent protest is spottier.
Lasting change comes when the tide of public opinion turns. When ordinary people see peaceful marchers mowed down before violent policemen and Klansmen. When they discover their friends and family are gay. When they see video of police violence they can’t deny or explain away. When minds change. Hello, dumpster-fire brigade? If you’ve lost people like me—who already agree with you—you might want to rethink your strategy.
It’s not a strategy, of course. It’s a tantrum. And exactly like a tantrum, it feels right because the cause is so just and the stakes so high and, most of all, rage, like fire, or like Republican lust for power, wants only to feed itself. Rage flashes over and rage sends sparks across the highway. In this case, right-wing think tanks use these tantrums for kindling. It keeps their people hot.
Voting is useless? Maybe we could—I don’t know—try doing it first before we jump to that conclusion. Of course it works. If it didn’t, Republicans wouldn’t be doing everything they can to keep certain people from doing it. In fact this whole sorry state of affairs proves voting works. They voted, and we didn’t. Not as hard.
Yes, they lie, and yes, they cheat. They tell people their kindergartners will get to decide what sex they “want to be.” They tell people liberals are coming for their guns. They tell people they are just like billionaires: overtaxed. They tell people all sorts of things. And those people not only vote: they vote for the dogcatcher if he puts in a good word for embryos. They vote for the precinct committee chairman’s second lieutenant if he says he wants to build the wall. They vote for school board members if they swear white kids will never be subjected to the shame of history. And bit by bit, election by election, the minority Republicans own the whole ranch, from the bottom up. And gerrymander their positions solid. And install judges right up to the Supreme Court. And dismantle environmental protections. And keep the whole top spinning by inventing evil Mexican hordes and pedophile Democrats and whatever fool thing they’ve trained their base to believe.
That’s what voting can do.
Keep calm. Keep the faith. Organize.
Preachin’ to the choir, here, Murr. I vote in EVERY election (There’s really no excuse; our polling place is two blocks away, so we walk there.) I vote straight democratic (Third parties may sound good in theory, and I may personally prefer that candidate, but they only serve to split the democrats so that the republicans win. Ralph Nader and Berie Sanders — I’m lookin’ at you!) But our state already leans heavily democratic, so it’s more a gesture than anything. It’s the SWING states where we need to energize the democratic vote. And yes, even though it may seem futile, we need to convince the people in republican-leaning states that this party ultimately benefits them more than that party. As I recall, the working class used to be heavily democratic and pro-union. Now, they are the opposite. I read an op-ed piece in the NYT about how the democratic party has lost touch with rural areas. We need to touch them again, but not in a creepy way.
I wish we could eliminate the Electoral College at least. Bad enough that we get two senators per state, no matter the size. We DO have the numbers.
Is there ANY chance that they COULD ever eliminate it? Because, actually, Bush “stole” the election from Gore, as Gore had the numbers, and would have won if Florida had been allowed to continue counting. But Gore was too much of a gentleman to create the histrionics of our former “president.” (And if I remember correctly — and sometimes I don’t — wouldn’t Hillary have won, if not for the electoral college?
I asked Google. Yes, Hillary had the largest number of popular votes of any losing president (almost 3 million.) Trump only won because of the electoral college. Ya wanna talk about election stealing, dickhead??? Jeeze… you can bet that the republicans want to keep this institution.
A good piece Murr. If only voices like yours weren’t the exception but the norm. Something else to consider, I saw on the news a couple nights ago where various wrongs in history had been righted when women joined forces and said no more sex. It didn’t take long for men to stop what they were doing and listen! Of course, Republican men are a different breed…
My face! Oh wait,there it is 🙂
I’m trying to remember if it actually happened. Lysistrata was fiction.
It did happen! I think one of the times was in Kenya!
Well said, I can add nothing. Bravo. This Nation is in crisis mode and what you do in a crisis makes all the difference.
The nation, the world…
We have the numbers, but we need to use them and use them well. I haven’t missed an election since 1972. My father, a naturalized U.S. citizen, instilled in me the importance of that. One of the few things I never needed to question.
I’m trying to get worked up about our May election here in Oregon. I have some time, and of course I have my ballot right on the kitchen counter.
I’m 83. I’ve never missed an election. Even local. Ever.
“Keep Calm. Keep the Faith. Organise.”
and VOTE! Vote vote vote!!!
Don’t let ‘them’ keep winning.
I don’t understand why the Electoral College was ever necessary in the first place.
As I understand it — and please correct me, someone, if I am wrong — back when there were fewer people in the midwest, and a preponderance of the population was in the east, and they had different concerns and values, they thought it was fair to establish the electoral college so that people in the east (the sophisticates!) wouldn’t decide the results of the election. So now that the population is a little more spread out, it seems that the whole thing is a moot point. When a few bumpkins can decide an election, something is fucking wrong. I mean, Hillary won the popular vote by roughly 3 million votes… and yet she lost. And she didn’t throw a tantrum. But the electoral college isn’t going to go away. So people who believe in freedom for EVERYONE — not just older white males — has to get out to vote! It doesn’t matter how difficult they make it. It’s imperative!
My understanding is that it was not to give more power to the midwest (how much of a midwest was there when the constitution was written?), but to give more power to the slave states.
Australia (where I happen to live and am allowed to vote, but NOT allowed to be a Justice of the Peace) will go to the polls in a General Election this month. A hung Parliamnet is a possibilty, but I think it more likely that the current horrors will win by a slim majority. Win or lose, I think the Party will get rid of Mr.Morrison.
Which would, I think, make them Party Poopers?
You said Poopers!
In Australia we have compulsory voting., which basically means that you have to turn up to a polling site (or do a postal vote), but there is no requirement to actually vote for anyone.,
surprisingly, the percentage of non-voters is low.
We also have an independant agency that runs elections and sets the electoral boundaries.,
not a perfect system, but reasonably fair.
(the gerry-mandered USA electoral districts have some bizzare shapes)
Once you understand how gerrymandering works, it’s even more horrible. How it’s legal I will never understand. (Not true. I know exactly why it happens.)
No humor in this one. Not even a hint. Quite powerful.
Now you’re going to make me go back and find a hint. Gotta be one.
Somewhen around 1970 a joke was going around that said “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” And to think that at the time, I thought that was funny! But I voted every chance I got anyway.
A few thoughts on peaceful protest of the Civil Disobedience variety:
Gandhi said that for civil disobedience to work, your opponent must have a conscience. What happens when your opponent has no conscience?
Dr. King said that civil disobedience must shame the oppressor. What happens when the oppressor has no shame?
Get in your time-and-teleportation machine and take both Gandhi’s and King’s methods to Weimar Germany. What would the result be?
Meanwhile, as we rapidly descend into white christian theofascism, I think the greatest effect of peaceful protest may just be to show good people that they are not alone, which is certainly worthwhile…
I suppose there are decent reasons to go violent in some circumstances. What Ghandi was saying maybe, and definitely MLK was saying, was that non-violent action must meet violent action and it is the onlookers, the majority witnesses, who must be able to change their attitudes. Not necessarily the combatants. I think.
That’s quite a compliment to the majority witnesses. I hope they deserve it, but these days I’ve got my doubts. My Weimar suggestion stands.