Written sometime after President Obama had taken the Democratic nomination in 2008. The October Revue has been in publication since 2007; it is now approaching ten years. This might have been written in 2009 or 2010; I could check the blog posts for the earliest version of this, but I will not.
To vote or not to vote has been our foremost political question as well as our principal political rub.
Once more I non-voted for President, that is, I went to the polls as someone who wanted to vote but could not pick a candidate. Staying home is a choice, and no politician ever cares about those who have chosen to stay home; political parties deal in certainties, at least the kind of sureness that can be calculated in probability equations (whether they are ever going to be realizable or not is not the question, but whether they can be packaged as a certainty is); and the apathy of anyone who stays home on election day is a certainty they can do without; it is no kind of protest. It doesn’t shake the status quo in confidence and self-assurance. Only people with interests or who are interested are negotiable; only they have something to bargain with, and in the case I herein present, it is a vote.
To vote for one or the other, though, as you do when you pick a horse at the race track is a vote fore mostly for the status quo. Non-votes on the other hand are sure votes up for grabs. They are tangible. Tens of millions of Americans have to non-vote in order to shake up the system. Note well—the fact that Hilary Clinton did not take her delegates and run for president after forming a new party showed me she is not Presidential timber of the radically altering society kind.
The only kind of an-archy the state would ever put up with is the kind where its obligations to serve are minimal or absent. However, the way we educate only ensures that the people are always less than themselves as a people, always individually less in each representative, always undereducated, always one step or more steps out of step with the dance one must dance at the ball . . . we walk to the voting booths, those of us who, like sheep, bleat in chorus with our media talking heads.
The rest of us stay home, stuck at home like moles or ostriches in their hole—the world does disappear for the ostrich who sticks his head in his hole.
A society where its people were better educated and better equipped to manage affairs in an an-archy more favorable to the existence of a free people would not be an intolerable thing, unless the society sees as its highest political ideal the complete suppression of the people in favor of the more controlled and controlling Public.
I know that there will be educated readers who will have a problem following this fore mostly for the sociopolitical dogmas they support and reinforce daily by the received ideas they accept as free thinking, and so I say what I have herein without expecting universal understanding, or any tolerance. I never expect unilateral agreement.
As several of my friends from some of the former Republics of the Soviet Union, say: There were no people there, only an overarching and overbearing Public to whose weight each added his own by bearing the dual responsibility, the double obligation of abdicating any connection to a people, and maintaining a full participatory role as Publican in the Soviet Republic.
Publius triumphed over Populus at every turn in the Soviet Union, I am reminded. I am also reminded by my friends from many of the former republics of the Soviet Union that there probably isn’t any country becoming more like the Soviet Union in this way than the United States, where We the People have been transforming rapidly into We the Public.
If you watch Americans lining up for the voting polls and see hope in that, you have no right to question how anyone could have walked into a gas chamber during the Holocaust. A horrible analogy, I have been told by a pre-reader, but one I hope maintains its satirical edge. Menippean though it may be, without losing itself off to educated sensibilities. I must confess that I used to gauge the literacy levels and education levels of students by how they handled Jonathan Swift. If they couldn’t get “A Modest Proposal” at all, even with help, then they were going to be an extraordinary challenge.
The Democratic ideal has been abdicated in favor of a pluralistic one, herein outlined both metaphysically and what we call practically, neither of them the same as the other.
Our pluralism has developed in a society completely misshapen in the image of the godly State, our newest form of worship. We are no longer even in remote resemblance to the ancient Populus or Demos and now proudly parade as Publius, the great monolithic Public. The masses who always gravitate toward one form of pluralism or another—whether it be Bolshevik, communist, fascist, Nazis, any other totalitarian, or Russian, French, American, et cetera–are as the masses have been everywhere since the advent of states in place of tribes. But then what is a tribe but a single identity for all, which is why when tribalism rears its head in any modern state, it is always that of the menacing savage, reanimated in the form of one genocide after another with the latest technology placed in the service of murder. Now is the year zero, millions chanted in Pol Pot’s Cambodia. What were the slogans and received ideas during the Stalinist purges when hundreds of thousands of Russians and Jews participated in the murder of tens of millions of their supposed countrymen. Human inhumanity to human.
However, this en masse is always ready to serve the state, or help create a social condition where each member is willing to squander his personhood, his singular identity as one of the people for a lumpen and numerical existence.
Marx’s lumpen proletariat has cross classification in the guise of the Public-minded man. Do we think that our contemporary liberal college student or any college student who thinks his American liberal politics are a solution for socio-political problems somewhere in the world, but particularly at home, should be taken seriously in a world where his assumed posture of dissent is only perceived as another decadent American position of privilege anywhere else in the world where American liberal and American conservative are ultimately uni-ideological?
Do we really expect that people around the world should not want to murder us?