I’ve been reading “Inferno” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and I came across this gem of dialogue:
“It is God you are judging,” he thundered.
“All right, it’s God I’m judging. If He can judge me, I claim the right to judge Him!”
Billy seemed horrified by what I was saying. I was sorry for that, but Benito laughed and said, “How will you implement your judgement on God Himself?”
The only possible answer to that was a feeble one, maybe, but I used it. “By withholding my worship. Benito, do you realize that the God you worship keeps a private torture chamber?”
“Private or public, the God Allen Carpentier worships will have to meet higher standards than that“
It strikes me as a very good metaphorical match to any powerful politician and the power of an individual’s vote.
Your vote may seem an inconsequential thing, but in the aggregate it genuinely matters. It actually is a factor in who controls the most draastically overfunded military in the world, for one thing. (I’d probably be less caustic about the extent of the military budget if actives and veterans weren’t so poorly reimbursed for their sacrifice, but that’s for another post).
It is, also, the only personal (in a sense, the only real) meaningful protest you have against a politician who represents you politically but not in any desirable sense. Admittedly, it’s a limited and imperfect sanction at best; all too often you’re given a choice between bad and worse, or at best between bad and worse and irrelevant. (Oh please, please let the meltdown of the Repuglicans lead to a viable third party…)
Still, even the smallest of protests is better than being a worm, yes?
I love the courageous attitude of N&P’s protagonist here; if God chooses to judge, then why can’t we judge God? God his (!) own self argued that those who judge may be subject to the judgement of others – yes, I know, it was really just a thinly veiled threat from the biggest judge on the block, but still.
As with God, so with the President, or your Governor, or anyone else.
Billy the Kid’s horror at the thought is similar to that of neoconservatives who protested vociferously tthat no one should criticize George W. Bush while he held office (and, to be fair, some of them still quietly mutter that Obama shouldn’t be criticised for the same reason – you just have to listen a lot more carefully, because they tend to whisper the thought now).
Well, I’m an unabashed hard-core liberal (“liberal” means “free” people!) and I have never ever accepted that majority rule was something I needed to follow like, you should pardon the expression, some kind of fucking sheep. I have my own views of what is right and I will fight for it; one of my views is that there are certain rights everyone has, even if the majority thinks they shouldn’t have them, amd the Constitution of the United States was specifically set up to support this view of mine before ever I held it. Here are three things specifically guaranteed us:
1) People have the right to choose their religious beliefs.
2) People have the right to speak freely, even if that upsets other people’s religious beliefs.
3) People have the right not to be tortured. Ever. Not fucking negotiable.
If you disagree, I will deny you my vote (and my worship, but no one gets that anyway) – and sure, that may be inconsequential in your eyes, but you should maybe remember these three things:
1) I am not alone.
2) I will not be silent.
3) Love gets more return custom than hate.