"More likely than not, if you are reading this, this is about you."
November 8, 2019 10:03 AM   Subscribe

"I often think of groups like this during evenings I spend on my couch. As I fold laundry half-heartedly, I watch TV and clutch my phone. I refresh my Twitter feed to keep up on the latest political crisis, then toggle over to Facebook to read clickbait news stories, then over to YouTube to see a montage of juicy clips from the latest congressional hearing. I then complain to my family about all the things I don’t like that I have seen. What I’m doing, that isn’t politics." Politics is for Power, Not Consumption: Political hobbyism takes well-meaning citizens away from pursuing power. (Boston Review)
posted by The Whelk (37 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, that was an uncomfortable read for me.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:29 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


This hits on a point that I've argued about before on the blue: protest alone is not enough. It has to translate into getting people into the voting booth, and candidates into elections. Protest alone is unlikely to change anything.
posted by SansPoint at 10:44 AM on November 8 [12 favorites]


I just know this isn't going to be a good thread to follow comments on, but thanks for posting this essay The Whelk.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:45 AM on November 8 [6 favorites]


From the article:

While we sit at home, people who seek political control are out winning over voters. In 2018, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina went around offering to help opioid addicts, telling addicts that their addiction wasn’t their fault and that the white knights of the KKK were there to offer a helping hand.

There's something I read a while back, that was about "how did the religious right end up getting such a foothold in politics"? And the answer was stuff like this: they started a long time ago, in grass-roots stuff, and they started small. Finding small cheeseball local races where they probably wouldn't have any opponent. Stayed there a couple years, putting in the cheeseball work as municipal dog catcher or whatever.

Then they made their next move - moving just one step up. But what they now had was the ability to say that they had been "serving community X for two years" already, which was often enough to give them a tiny edge over the other person running - at least in the minds of the voter who was standing in the booth, trying to decide between two candidates they'd never heard of for the assistant ombudsman. ....Why didn't they research this, dammit....oh well, this guy has been in government for a couple years and that guy hasn't, okay we'll go with the guy that has a record. And now our religious-right guy is assistant ombudsman. Staying there for one term before moving up again. And again. Getting more of a record. Until finally they have enough of a record and a history behind them to get into real power, since a lot of the people voting actually don't bother to look much into the full records of the people they vote for, and there are some who probably vote based on "oh yeah, I've heard of this guy but I haven't ever heard of this other guy".

The point being - they actually got out there and put in the actual work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:46 AM on November 8 [40 favorites]


A reminder: there are any number of ways to get involved with doing the actual work. If you feel like the article was talking about you, please look into the work people in your community are already doing.
posted by mcduff at 11:01 AM on November 8 [14 favorites]


This is me.

I've tried getting involved before, and it usually feels futile. And suggestions to "just get involved' feel a lot like the "how to draw an owl" tutorials. ("Draw a circle, now draw the rest of the fucking owl.")

I'm going to tilt at this windmill again, because ... I just fucking have to. But only because avoiding a slide into fascism is slightly better than having to leave my house and talk to people.
posted by jzb at 11:21 AM on November 8 [20 favorites]


How about a point system on Metafilter: we only get a limited number of comments, which can be raised each time we do something real as activism. Write your Congresscritter, get 10 more comments this week... (Only half joking.)
posted by PhineasGage at 11:22 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


One can do both. I attend a weekly demonstration, donate money to political candidates, register voters, and canvass, and I also read political Twitter compulsively.
posted by Peach at 11:26 AM on November 8 [6 favorites]


I agree with the writer that endlessly consuming politics without ever getting to practice it yourself is kind of hollow and dissatisfying and pointless in the grand scheme. HOWEVER. People do it (including me!) because it's also pretty fucking fun in the moment. I love listening to all those podcasts, watching MSNBC, talking politics with friends and family and at events. I even like talking about it with local politicians (hell, with anybody who will let me). And yeah, attending events and lectures and protests is fun, too. I'd LOVE going to basically a debate club every week to shoot the shit about politics with my neighbors! Those clubs the writer was talking about sounded so cool. I actually volunteer quite a bit, too (although never as much as I should). But that's out of a sense of obligation, not because it's fun. What if volunteering were fun, too? Why shouldn't it be, really?

I feel like there just isn't enough emphasis placed on how it FEELS to volunteer, like is it a good time, is it a good experience. Maybe that sounds shallow, but at the end of the day, it's a lot easier to do something you enjoy than something you don't. Why should political work be miserable? Why shouldn't it be as fun as political hobbyism?
posted by rue72 at 11:28 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


it's called work for a reason
posted by lalochezia at 11:31 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I feel like there just isn't enough emphasis placed on how it FEELS to volunteer, like is it a good time, is it a good experience.

For me, it's not whether I have a good time or not - it's whether I feel it was effective, and also whether I feel connected. When I have volunteered for various organizations in the past it's usually felt like an inefficient and ineffective use of my time, and often it's "here, go off by yourself and stand in front of a store for six hours to collect signatures -- most people won't even make eye contact with you."

(On the plus side, I will almost always now at least acknowledge folks who are collecting signatures or whatever even if I have zero interest in their cause...)
posted by jzb at 11:34 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I don't think the author really made their case. When I read a Metafilter thread about politics, that behavior isn't at all substituting for me doing direct action; it's substituting perhaps for me reading a book or playing a game of chess. It's not the case that I chat about politics online because I am actually trying to change the world and am confused about how to do it. (Is there any measure of "people actively participating in politics" which we can look at over the past 20 years?)

So it's not clear to me that "hobbyism takes us away from spending time working with others to acquire power."
posted by value of information at 11:43 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I'm a former political voyeur who now works for a political organization. It's hard work, but it's good, too — and personally I feel a little bit responsible for what just happened in Virginia. I highly recommend getting involved in some way, even if it's just volunteering to know a few doors for a local candidate you believe in.
posted by turtlebackriding at 11:45 AM on November 8 [9 favorites]


A key difference is that politics for power is local. It's the school board race. It's the district attorney. It's where 50 votes can decide a city council race, instead of an entire state being irrelevant to a presidential election. That's also where you get disconnected residents to connect politics to their daily lives. Did the city cut bus service yet again, but the mayor is promising to build a brand-new sports stadium? That matters. That matters in an everyday, immediate mundane kind of way that the impeachment hearings do not.

I disagree with the author's emphasis on "Democratic brand" building as a part of politics for power. That is ONE way of building a structure for power. But you could also do politics for power via a tenants union. Or the No New Jails campaign. You can pick an issue rather than a party. But you find your people at the local level.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:48 AM on November 8 [24 favorites]


This is largely ignorant spitballing, but I have wondered if the Democratic/Republican urban/rural divide gives Republicans an advantage building a movement, because there are more bullshit local offices to get started with. That is, I'm a New Yorker, and I'm exactly the sort of hobbyist this is aimed at, and I make vague attempts to get really politically involved but the lowest levels of actual politics around here seem very full-time professional. The 'run for a cheeseball job like municipal dog-catcher' route, while it makes perfect sense, doesn't seem to exist clearly in a big city the way it (maybe? I don't know?) exists in the lower density parts of the country.
posted by LizardBreath at 11:57 AM on November 8 [14 favorites]


Summing up the time we spend on politics, it would be hard to describe our behavior as seeking to influence our communities or country. Most of us are engaging to satisfy our own emotional needs and intellectual curiosities.

So I think this is where the essay lost me, where the sense that Hersh is working from a multitude of interesting and useful pieces but not fitting them together into anything terribly functional came out. having, uh, like three of those pieces and about half an hour to try this out myself, here goes:

I think the demographics of the political hobbyists are relevant to the why-they-do/don't-do-it-Right, because university educated -> habitual reliance on credentials -> deeply ingrained sense that you need to know, or at least rightfully should know whereof you speak before you open your mouth. So you want to be involved in politics? Better be informed first.

But how informed do you need to be, to have the right to even start speaking up? Who are you, exactly, to go out and tell people How It Works and how we got here and what's broken and what they can do to fix it? Especially when you've been reading up and reading up, on an ever-expanding and limitlessly available mass of issues and events and candidates ... just. jesus christ, it is complicated.

And where do you even start, that it'll matter?

(I think, by the way, that the of the people who spend two hours a day on politics but no time on volunteering, 56 percent are men. But of those who spend that much time on politics, with at least some of it spent volunteering, 66 percent are women bit has more to do with men being treated like what they have to say matters, while women learn the hard way that the work you want done gets done or it doesn't, and waiting around for credit for just having good ideas is ... unrewarding. Though also ISTR that there's a massive gender imbalance in non-political volunteering too.)

Also: even as I disagree with the article too by absolutely believing that some people can do both - I know that I'm not one of those people; this comment is probably the most I've said about politics online in ... six or seven years? While getting more involved, then backsliding because it is actually tiring (especially now, especially if you're not a person galvanized by anger), then stumbling into volunteer roles where I see just how dusty and fragile and in need of repair those much-vaunted local political structures are sometimes, and it's obviously going to take work to get them going again - or transform them as needed - and oh, boy, who the hell do I think I am, again?
posted by Tess of the d'Urkelvilles at 12:00 PM on November 8 [9 favorites]


The 'run for a cheeseball job like municipal dog-catcher' route, while it makes perfect sense, doesn't seem to exist clearly in a big city the way it (maybe? I don't know?) exists in the lower density parts of the country.

Where i live (and I grew up in a small Republican town) this reads as mostly false. The current, new run of hard-core Republicans didn't start small- they have huge financial backing to sue the city at every turn, to run expensive elections, and to insert themselves more directly into politics not by running meetings and converting onesey-twosey but by finanically overwhelming the competition.


And most small rural towns barely even have elected roles like dogcatcher, so even in a small town, you are running for something like county commissioner or councilmember.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:04 PM on November 8 [14 favorites]


The 'run for a cheeseball job like municipal dog-catcher' route, while it makes perfect sense, doesn't seem to exist clearly in a big city the way it (maybe? I don't know?) exists in the lower density parts of the country.

I'm also in a dense urban area, and mostly agree. But I've noticed a few details. In the last general election, one of the positions was something like Park Ranger (regional park district board member) - nonpartisan, so no R/D to help figure out who to vote for. Not part of any of the controversy discussion areas; all I had to go on was the candidate statements about themselves.

There wasn't much, but one of the candidates wanted "heightened security" in the parks, and used the word "fake" in describing some kind of problems, and I decided those were dog whistles enough to vote against him. And that's the kind of position that anyone could run for... if they had time and other resources to get to the meetings.

Not mentioned in the article: How both direct activism (calls, postcards, gatherings) and running for office require time, energy, and money. The article has a point that just reading online about politics is not the same as being involved, but "don't talk about this unless you're going to do it yourself" is not a valid response to that. It sounds a bit like, "You don't like this book? Can you write one that's better? Then shut up."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:31 PM on November 8 [11 favorites]


Where i live (and I grew up in a small Republican town) this reads as mostly false. The current, new run of hard-core Republicans didn't start small- they have huge financial backing to sue the city at every turn, to run expensive elections, and to insert themselves more directly into politics not by running meetings and converting onesey-twosey but by finanically overwhelming the competition.

Right, now there is enough momentum to have the financial backing to place people in high spots right away. I'm talking about things that happened in the 1980s and 90s. Arguably, the people you're looking at are walking through doors that were cut open back in 1991.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


LWV...
posted by jim in austin at 1:16 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


developing the knowledge base requisite to distinguishing lies from truth is real work.
being able to distinguish lies from truth is power.
they may not be political work and political power. but they may be; i probably need a middle-aged, college-educated political scientist publishing on the internet to let me know for sure.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:17 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I struggle with this a lot and have had to accept that I, personally, don't have the right kind of spoons to make a good political volunteer. Doing that kind of work sends my anxiety through the roof and makes me want to crawl into a hole.

So I upped my political donations. I vote in everything I can.

I feel pretty bad that that is all I can manage, but apparently that is all I can manage.
posted by emjaybee at 1:25 PM on November 8 [12 favorites]


The fact that you vote in everything you can puts you ahead of many people.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:32 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


The mefi wiki has a Get a lawyer page, because it is common advice but useless if you don’t know how to get a lawyer.

I would find it useful if there was a wiki on how to get involved in local politics. I think most of the time when I have done something more than just consume politics, it’s been at the suggestion of a mefite. We should put that collective advice in an single place so those of us trying to consume less and do more have ways to get started!
posted by nat at 2:00 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


(I think, by the way, that the of the people who spend two hours a day on politics but no time on volunteering, 56 percent are men. But of those who spend that much time on politics, with at least some of it spent volunteering, 66 percent are women bit has more to do with men being treated like what they have to say matters, while women learn the hard way that the work you want done gets done or it doesn't, and waiting around for credit for just having good ideas is ... unrewarding. Though also ISTR that there's a massive gender imbalance in non-political volunteering too.)
Oh god, this. I do a lot of political volunteering, and it's extremely un-glamorous. Also, it's not about you and your brilliant ideas. Canvassing mostly involves following a script. There's often a place in the script for "I am supporting candidate/issue because [insert your personal reason here]," but we're talking about a pithy sentence. And organizing canvasses is just your basic garden-variety heavily-feminized organizational task. It's making reminder phone calls, organizing packets, distributing packets, making sure they're checked in and out properly, making sure everyone knows where to go, making sure there are plenty of snacks, making sure that canvassers feel like they're valued and are doing a good job. You are almost never coming up with strategy, and the whole point is to execute someone else's strategy so flawlessly that nobody notices all the work you put in. Women do this kind of stuff in our homes, in PTAs and churches, in our jobs. We both have the skills and we're used to doing thankless organizational tasks without getting a lot of credit. Dudes not so much, although to be fair, I can think of one amazing Neighborhood Team Leader who was a middle-aged, male computer science professor. So there are men who do it, but it's overwhelmingly women.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:46 PM on November 8 [16 favorites]


The basics of "how to get involved in local politics" involve "have spare time + be mostly able-bodied."

Show up at city council meetings. Research the agenda if you can; be prepared to speak up on topics of interest to you. Attend court cases of judges who are going to be on the ballot. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with your congressfolks, whether that's state or national. Show up at town hall meetings, with questions/comments in hand.

You may note that all of these are much easier to do if you're retired, reasonably well-educated, not poor, and not in need of mobility or communication aids.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:54 PM on November 8 [14 favorites]


I don't disagree, necessarily, but I've noticed that in Philadelphia there are a lot of very politically-involved people from extremely poor areas. Many of those people are older, but not all. And they are often far better at understanding how things work and how to mobilize opposition than people in gentrifying neighborhoods. Money usually still wins out, but these groups are impressive and get a ton done. Realizing that makes it even more clear how much is stacked against them.

Maybe it helps that we have elected positions for extremely small areas - there are up to two committee people elected for each party for each division. My division is about 1,000 feet by 1,600 feet and has a population of about 800.
posted by sepviva at 3:56 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Political activity can be done by the poor - it's just harder. Hard to get to city council meetings if you work two jobs or if your evenings are full of childcare. Hard to mobilize to get out the vote if you don't drive and your local area has lousy transit options. Hard to get involved in anything if your language fluencies don't include English. And so on.

Not impossible - people have managed with all these setbacks and worse - but the bar for participation is higher for people who don't have substantial leisure time and the resources to take action with that time.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:09 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


You can also deny insinuations your labor.
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on November 8


I canvassed for two candidates in Virginia this year and the effort? was MASSIVE. I met some people who came all the way from California to help us out. I feel like many people made the move from consumption to production of politics this year. Straight up inspired.

How does volunteering feel? It's literally grunt work, but I am 1000% happier doing it than not doing it. The satisfaction of being a tiny part of something huge that IS changing the world is worth all the sore feet and numb hands in the world. I was able to put my accumulated rage and sorrow into each footstep.

When we actually flipped my home state blue it was like...it was like a reverse Armageddon. I felt nothing like that, not even close, during the time when I just consumed politics... if you're into politics for the entertainment, camaraderie and emotional satisfaction, you don't know what you're missing staying at home. I didn't do nearly as much as some other volunteers, and my candidates didn't even win, but every little bit helped push us over that line as a state. As a result of that collective effort here my wife and I (both trans) will have measurably improved lives. We have a chance at getting health care, labor protections and antidiscrimination laws, among other things. This shit is life and death for us and I can't thank everyone enough.

Ughh is it dusty in here? Half my lifetime ago this was a solid red state. I never even really thought I'd see the day. :')
posted by captain afab at 5:37 PM on November 8 [19 favorites]


I deeply admire people who actively participate in politics. I want to be the kind of person who does, but I'm not. I vote every year, no matter how small the race, and nag friends/youths I know to vote, and I give money, and I work on self-serving pipe dreams with tenuous political connections, but I follow politics because I want to know something of what's going on in the world, and I want to slowly develop a historical context for my life. Beyond that is a little bit beyond me.
posted by rorgy at 7:26 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]




Coming back to this because I've been ruminating on this since yesterday. It's something that simultaneously resonates with me - yes, armchair politics alone solves exactly nothing - while its dismissiveness pisses me off. Specifically this:

If we cast blame for political dysfunction on the media, on gerrymandering, on attempts at voter disenfranchisement, on wealthy political donors, on the Electoral College, on unapologetic racists, it’s hard to see how ordinary citizens could do much. But that's awfully convenient; I believe that our own behavior demands at least as much reform as any political institution.

This, put succinctly, is bullshit and needs to be called out.

The current state of affairs, where people who already work full-time and have to add the grunt work (as captain afab accurately calls it out) of canvassing and whatnot to their schedule, is bullshit.

The effect of gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, and wealthy political donors plus Faux News and social media disinformation... should not be dismissed. In a just system, voting should be enough. Having to work a full-time job plus the "grunt work" just to overcome the gerrymandering and disenfranchisement is sadly necessary, but it's bullshit. And shaming people for not doing enough, when the majority is defeated at the polls because of these things, isn't a recipe for getting people involved.

We need to stop pretending that the right-wing machine is successful because they work harder and do better ground work, and not because of rat-fucking, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and all-out nastiness.

To me this is much like messaging that the environmental catastrophe we're facing is because people use straws with their drinks, and if we just recycle harder, eat tofu, and bike to work, things will sort themselves out.

We need to get involved, because that's the only thing that's going to help in the short term. But let's not pretend this is an even match or that it's one equally matched side squaring off against folks who are just more active. The gun rights and right-to-live movements are well-funded, carefully chosen identity politics that get enough single-issue folks to the polls to keep Republicans in office.

The claim that those movements were "chapter-based, local organizations with thousands of volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves and, slowly and steadily, achieve modest political goals" ignores the right-wing & evangelical machinery behind pro-lifers. The NRA's money has made a lot more difference in politics than any volunteer pushes.

If we want to motivate people to get into politics I think we need to 1) start with honesty, and 2) organizers need to do a lot better job enabling people who are already overtasked. (Also, for the love of god, if I donate to a candidate or cause, having my email / contact information immediately spread around and spammed relentlessly is not a good experience. I hold my nose every time I make a campaign donation these days because I may support the candidate or cause, but the fundraising tactics make me furious.)
posted by jzb at 6:42 AM on November 9 [8 favorites]


In a just system, voting should be enough.
I don't think that's true, for what it's worth. I think it's impossible to design a system in which everyone's perspectives can be heard and needs can be met just through voting. I would argue that we will always need activism, and the problem is that most Americans' lives make it really difficult to do anything outside of work and other responsibilities, which includes activism. We need fewer barriers to all sorts of activities that are not strictly necessary for survival, which would make it easier for people to advocate for themselves and their issues when they needed to do that.

I don't love the whole "only rich, able-bodied retirees can be politically active," because that doesn't describe the politically active people I know. At all. Obviously, lots of people have lots of barriers to activism, and I would never shame anyone for failing to do anything. I'm actually trying to be a little less hard on myself about it, because I definitely feel bad about not doing enough. But I think that you'd be surprised by the wide variety of people who are involved in political activism, even the very mainstream, election-oriented kind.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


This part resonated with me because of the excellent book I've been reading about class background and social movements. According to Wilson, the professional class involved in the clubs tended to believe that if all voters thought through the issues as deeply as they did, their side would eventually win. The party regulars, on the other hand, who interacted daily with working-class voters, saw this view as naïve.

According to the book's case studies, Professional Middle Class activists (i.e. the audience for this article and the majority of MeFites) tend to be more concerned with abstract concepts when strategizing in org meetings, heavier emphasis on correctly articulating their ideology, and running the meetings in a certain way, which often alienated them from the working class activists they were trying to recruit.

Otoh, working class majority orgs realized that they would gain more supporters by meeting their needs in the moment, working on short term, concrete wins, as well as overall mutual aid and community support.

I think this article is a pretty good distillation of how middle and professional class values fetishize endless talk over immediate action. (I feel this particularly in my current job within higher ed.)
posted by book 'em dano at 11:10 AM on November 9 [7 favorites]


So, this is me. In fact, when people talk to me about sports I often reply "Sorry, politics is my sport. I don't have any idea what you are talking about."

I don't particularly enjoy talking to strangers. I also work 12 hour shifts, mostly on weekends, so time is an issue. And hell, I'm lazy. I'd rather be home on my days off with my family or watching Netflix or something. However, after some soul searching, this year I decided that I absolutely had to do *something* more than just listen to the endless political drama for another year, cast my vote, and hope for the best. So, I'm canvassing for my preferred presidential candidate. It's not particularly fun. I don't consider myself a very persuasive person. I don't really know if I'm doing a good job at it even. And I don't know, in the larger scheme of things, how much of a difference I'm making. I just know that I can't wait for someone else to do it. A campaign is made up of lots of individual efforts, large and small. I'm doing my little part. And it *is* rewarding. So far, (maybe because it's too early in the political season for people to be exhausted and angry) almost everyone I've spoken with has been nice, even if they support someone else for president. And I usually end up having at least one or two really good conversations with people every time I go out, conversations that have made me feel more hopeful, and hopefully leave a positive impression with the person I'm speaking to.

I'd just encourage anybody thinking about getting involved, in any small way, to go for it. It's worthwhile to be doing something. And you don't have to be a political expert. When I'm talking with people, I just tell them from the heart why I'm knocking on their door and why I support my candidate (while of course fitting in the required script/questions.) That's it. I don't see my job as selling my candidate. I see my job as just making a positive connection that may slightly influence a person, or even just put my candidate on their radar in the case of people who are completely checked out and not paying attention at all. I intend to do whatever I can, with whatever spare time I have between now and next November, to change the toxic regime we are currently dealing with. As far as I can tell, that *is* what politics is all about on the individual level.
posted by WhenInGnome at 12:59 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]



We need to stop pretending that the right-wing machine is successful because they work harder and do better ground work, and not because of rat-fucking, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and all-out nastiness.

the right wing machine is successful because they work hard at all that ugly sh** ... with a solid ground game. Power is a dirty f***ing game, and the harder you play (the more you want that power) the dirtier it gets. I don't think it matters what side you're on, frankly.

Which is not an argument for doing nothing, for shrugging off the political as beneath me. I'd be a fool to think that. But I do worry about it consuming me. Because I know I'm not at my best when I get serious about politics. And I'm reminded of this pretty much daily as I watch certain friends and acquaintances getting consumed. It's all they want to talk about, argue about, fight about -- the ends they seek becoming more relevant than the means those ends may require.

In a just system, voting should be enough.

In my forty plus years of being a legal voter, I've come to believe that voting is probably the least important essential thing one does in a democracy. But it is essential, even if you live in one those places where the electoral outcome is never a surprise. You must vote ... if only to honor those who fought so hard, suffered so much to get that vote in the first place. But the real work, the real commitment of democracy -- that happens between election days. Speaking of which, my main focus of late when I feel compelled to get political is electoral reform. Because this first-past-the-post bullshit feels like it was invented to feed cynicism. Which, as a friend who spent the first twenty odd years of his life trapped on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, is one of the two primary building blocks of totalitarianism. The other being stupidity. Or as he puts it, "Only two kinds of people ever went for Soviet style Communism. Cynics and fools."
posted by philip-random at 11:39 AM on November 10


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