Appropriately it's voting day here in Nashville, near ground zero for events that precipitated that historic legislation. Our mayoral race does not excite me, though I do want to see the defeat of the candidate who was stupidly quick to declare the Charleston atrocity non-racially motivated.
I am eager to vote for the elimination of several city council seats. That body is ridiculously overstaffed and underwhelming. Like the Tennessee state House and U.S. Congress.
How many of us would have voted to drop "Little Boy" on Hiroshima seventy years ago this morning? And how many would have voter's remorse?
Would we have voted for penicillin in 1881? Or would there have been an anti-antibacterial movement?
We the people aren't as informed or as reflective as we ought to be, as participants in popular democracy, nor are our public educational institutions adequately supported and funded to that end. Was it H.L. Mencken who said the public is an ass? It is, often enough. But the plutocracy's a bigger one. Anyway, he was speaking publicly too.
Anti-intellectualism has always been a problem here, as Douglas Hofstadter documented. It's his birthday too. And as Isaac Asimov said,
Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”Vox populi clearly does not always reflect the public interest, as old Rousseau rightly said, but it's always in the public interest to solicit the voices of the people and start a conversation. To the polls.
Postscript, 8:15 am. Getting antsy, waiting for the heavy rainfall to subside so I can get on with my habitual 8 am walk. Thoreau said he always went, "in any weather," but I'll bet there were mornings when he waited it out in his pondside shack too. Good time to invoke Stoic patience, consult the radar, admit will's natural limitations, and ponder this:
“All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or back gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.Polls don't close 'til nightfall, there is more day to dawn.
There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote." On the Duty of Civil Disobedience