Voter apathy is a civic abdication. There is no other way to describe it.That is how he begins this column for Thursday's New York Times.
Trust me, please. This is a column that needs to be read in its entirety, that is not possible to easily summarize or from which one can draw the appropriate extracts.
Blow reminds us of the difference between a Presidentialy election and an off-year like 2010. He puts it bluntly:
There is an astounding paradox in it: too many of those with the least economic and cultural power don’t fully avail themselves of their political power. A vote is the great equalizer, but only when it is cast.Except we now have the advantage of knowing who the shadows are, people such as the Brothers Koch.
The strategy here is simple: Break the spirit. Muddy the waters. Make voting feel onerous and outcomes ambiguous. And make it feel like a natural outgrowth of tedium and bickering, and not a well-funded, well-designed effort. Make us subsist on personality politics rather than principled ones.
The greatest trick up the sleeves of the moneyed and powerful is their diabolical ability to render themselves invisible and undetectable, to recede and operate behind a front, one relatable and common. Our politics are overrun with characters acting at the behest of shadows.
This is powerful writing, but it is not close to being the heart of the column.
After telling us that " too many people shrug or sleep when they should seethe" Blow hits the read with a series of 7 distinct reaspns we should be in a rage.
These range from the atrocities of the Roberts Court on empowering billionaires and corporations, the attacks on women's reproductive rights in state legislatures, the rolling back of voting rights and effective disenfranchisement of millions, economic hardship for many, climate change . . . . you get the picture.
Blow then remarks
But where rage should be, there is too often a whimper.He reminds us if thoe who are most affected will go to the polls and the public square, they can change the government to something that meets their needs rather than those of the already wealthy in accumulating even more wealth and power. He alludes to Jefferson's notion in the Declaration of the people's power to alter government to something that secures their unalienable rights.
"Democracy is durable, but not incorruptible." So begins the penultimate paragraph, in which Blow warns us of those attempting to move us, almost imperceptibly from democracy to oligarchy.
Except that we notice.
Except that we can speak out.
Except that we can mobilize.
Except that we can expose the lies and the manipulations, even if those peddling such wares have billions to promote them.
I will live Blow's final line, with its image of a vessel drifting in the direction of a sudden drop, for you to read for yourself.
We have the points of reference to help people recognize what is happening.
We have the capability for righteous anger.
We can, a la Peter Finch's Oscar winning performance in Network, throw open our actual and virtual windows and shout our rage - that we are as mad as hell and will NOT take it anymore.
There are many more of us than there are of them.
The Tea Party took over in 2010 fueled by anger.
That was a false and unjustifiable anger, manipulated by the powerful, fueled by racism and untruths.
We have the possibility for a righteous anger that can turn conventional political wisdom on its heads....
..... if there are politicians willing to stand up loudly for what is right.
We should be in a rage
and whether hot rage or cold fury, we need to come together, with virtual pitchforks and torches, and drive the oligarchs and their minions out of control of OUR country, OUR political system, OUR economy, OUR society.
We should be in a rage.
What about you?