WAS ONE OF THOSE leftist shibboleths that was supposed to demonstrate how concerned progressives were for the health of democracy as a general concept. Cross the notion of voter apathy with progressives’ fascist impulses and you get mandatory voting — a head-spinning, cartoon-sound-effected ::wobbita wobbita wobbita wobbita wobbita wobbita wobbita wobbita:: if there ever was one.
About the first time I ever heard of voter apathy (trust me: it was long before you were born), I also heard of the little-known fact that local tax levies go down to defeat far more often than mere chance or a few brazilian coin flips might yield as a probability of such a thing happening.
Go ahead. Work it out. I’ll wait for you to catch up.
And, being the mule-headed, contrary syncretician that I am, I put two and three together and came up with eight.
Perhaps people can’t be bothered to vote because they really can’t see any point in it. They have eyes. They’re not stupid. They know that self-embiggened people get up themselves and show no concern for The Little People or for The Rules That Only Apply To The Little People. They know that the fix is in, in other words, and they see no hope in registering their protests in tiny numbers that will have no effect.
Fools like Rick Moran and the Inside the Beltway Crowd — left or right — assert that what are, in the end, mainstream American values of liberty, individualism, integrity, and fair play won’t sell in the more-sophisticated districts (read: the so-called “blue” states) of the country. “Voters won’t elect a conservative in [Delaware|Connecticut|Massachusetts],” they assert and aver. Because there are none of that political stripe In Our Town, they claim. So the Establishment in those regions refuse to support true Americans, preferring European Lite varietals. I ask you: if a product is never available on a grocery store shelf, will you buy it? Is it therefore reasonable to assume that, because it doesn’t sell (How can you buy what’s not available?), nobody wants it?
Wouldn’t that be whatcha call yer basic self-fulfilling prophecy?
Meanwhile, those deluded romantics, those wild-eyed dreamers who actually believe in a consensual self-government model and bestir themselves to vote, look around themselves, realize that not only are they overtaxed, but that everybody is — that the government leech is sucking so much of the life out of the nation that it threatens its own survival. AND, since the government is our one guarantor of our rights, that’s not on. (Don’t kid yourself: you wouldn’t last five seconds in that anarchy you so long for; you need government. What is up for discussion is what’s the irreducible minimum.) So, in protest, they vote against the only taxes within reach — local levies and bond issues.
And then one day, one snowflake lands on top of a pile of like-minded flakes and they start an avalance. Rick Santelli rants on a cable news show. A housewife Out In The Boondocks decides she’s had enough. And a thousand-million points of light become the blinding flash of a supernova, and hope is kindled in the desperate hearts of the formerly apathetic.
Applying — perhaps only subconsciously — the lessons of markets, the Internet, and the wisdom of crowds, a movement is born and coalesces around some simple, fundamental principles. They are, in fact, principles all Americans can — or should — agree on. They are at the core of what it takes to be an American. Failure to apprehend and appropriate them is a failing that many exhibit in the Northeast Establishment Media Bubble.
Reacting to Christine O’Donnell’s win in Delaware, Rachel Maddow (I so wanted to type MadCow, but I stay my hand), called the views of the Tea Party “extreme.” Journalists around Europe — clearer-eyed, perhaps, than our own homegrown breed — still insist that the movement is far, far to the Right of things.
As Tolkien put it, to crooked eyes, the truth must wear a wry face. The only reason the Tea Party of America (and, I suspect, around the world, as they grow like Topsy) appear — scorn quotes — “extreme” to those of the sinister persuasion is because they sit so far out on the Left wing as to be past the navigation lights. In reality, though, the views that informed the Founding of the Republic are still the mainstream. And when political candidates voice those views and values in a full-throated roar, We the Little People rally around them. This is a truth that Rush has observed for lo, these twenty-plus years: conservatism* wins every time it’s tried.
This is what you are participating in when you go to Tea Party rallies, when you work at a phone bank for a primary challenger to a RINO incumbent, when you blog about liberty and prosperity — not only for all Americans, but for all of humanity, (for THAT is the dream). It won’t end in November. Evil is not so much a physical presence as it is a force of nature. Those too weak to resist its siren song will be with us for all time and will require our resistance. But now — unlike those apathetic days of yore — now you have Hope that you may prevail.
Hope and Change. New and improved.
* You may argue that the Tea Party is not really conservative. Far from it, you might say, it is very radical — in the sense of radishes being roots and the Latin radix being the root of the word radical, the Tea Party folk want America to get back to its liberty-loving, small-government-wanting, low-tax-paying roots. True enough. For the moment, that is both radical and conservative. The genius of the movement is that it focusses only on those matters which ought to be public and ignores those which ought to be private. Which is as it ought to be.