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It’s okay to be angry. It might not be healthy, but that’s your business, and “your business” is the key issue in American politics and society. Always has been.
It’s okay to be angry at the elected representation and “leadership”, and frankly, to do something about it. There’s nothing more categorically American than seizing control from a corrupt or feckless (or both) government.
Those of us who (still) oppose riots and brutal block-to-block warfare express our fury through politics. This is neither the time nor the arena to be acquiescent, agreeable, amenable, or any of an entire alphabet of stupid approaches.
It’s okay to tell your fickle failure of a political party to pound sand. The Republican Party was born of an abolitionist fury at the lack of meaningful difference between one party and another. Sounds familiar.
There is something to be said for working within the system, but this is not the same as settling down. It means waging the same angry war in the house as in the streets, and so long as that warfare is still metaphorical, that is right and good. The comfortable inside the big house will never change unless made uncomfortable, and this is better accomplished peacefully from within than from without. Yet peaceful does not mean placid, meek, polite, civil, or any of that. Specifically, it means not violent.
It is right and good to withhold support for a party that has serially failed to make good its promises. That which is rewarded will be repeated, and so forth.
I still work to elect Republicans, but on a case-by-case basis. I am all for primarying losers, and frankly, some targeted Democrat victories can be a good thing. Obviously, this does not include the Presidency or critical razor-thin majorities. I once circulated tracts clarifying when to support, when to primary, and some limited cases where I recommended supporting Democrats. For example, if you can retain the House comfortably but do away with a particularly bad speaker (John Boehner, Paul Ryan) by helping him lose his seat, I don’t care if it’s a can of paint who wins that election.
There is a place for angry rhetoric, which will frequently exceed the grasp of real action. Those who insist that you put your vote where your mouth is are missing the point of non-violent opposition to our government’s accelerating slide into fascism. They’re talking you out of your opposition by presenting you with a false dichotomy between shooting war and meekness.
SHOUT! Shout your dissatisfaction, your implacable opposition, your desire to support obvious bad guys over the treacherous bad guys that we supposedly have no choice about. You don’t have to do everything you say — you don’t actually have to vote like Jimmy Dore in order to acknowledge that he is right about a lot of things, and you don’t have to vote for Tulsi Gabbard to use her as a threat. Not all credible threats are acted upon — that would be stupid.
If you would be of any use at all, let uncertainty and worry dawn in the minds of the comfortable politicians who take you for granted. Make your uncertainty their panic. Make your worries their political terror. Short of violence, and short of voting for destruction, there is an honorable space for shouting your fury at the miserable bureaucrats and threatening to burn their whole party to the ground if it doesn’t get religion quick.
It is your right, and nobody gets to soothe you out of it or name-call you into the boxcars. That is a fatal anesthesia.
If deeds must match words, then there is no use in speaking, and we might as well pour into the streets. If reasonable people cannot talk about this, then unreasonable people will shoot about it. It is entirely reasonable and responsible — commendable — to sound unreasonable, even irresponsible.
Give ’em Hell. Or accept Hell.Published in