Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
I am not a big fan of the guy cited but the thread went interesting places:
Voting is the only tool that people have to challenge the status quo other than violent revolution? The court system, collective bargaining, street protest/strikes/pickets, the building of alternative social institutions, community education and organizing…they all count for nothing?
“Voting is the only tool” strikes me as being nearly as oblivious as “violent revolution is the only tool”.
A response by "JL," who then provides an extensive list of his/her own efforts in influencing the status quo beyond voting. Also, "gmack":
If voting is something we do only as individuals, then we’re doing it wrong. If it is to be a political activity, voting is something we have to do together, as part of a group oriented around common opinions. In other words, I don’t think it’s a good idea to view elections simply as an opportunity for individuals to register individual preferences. That way of interpreting voting ends up collapsing into Brand’s position: If my personal preferences are not satisfied, I just abstain. Voting instead is part of an organized practice, and thus not altogether different from, say, building alternative institutions, engaging in collective protest, etc., etc.
The results of the actions of single persons do sometimes seem to me to be of unclear value though like one drop of water joining others the fill a glass, the ultimate ends can ultimately be seen by the actions of individuals. For instance, people change their minds about things, in part by listening to others and reading things say say. Who's to know how even one person's input here will not matter, especially if addressed to major distributors such as members of the press? At least, I feel compelled to do so here in various cases, including when things are said wrong. I'm a bit of an evangelist in that sense, feeling a need to preach and promote.
Such is but one way to change the status quo. Take high school. If just a few people, especially those with some social standing, oppose certain types of injustices -- including harassing certain types of people -- it will be significant. It can change the status quo. Sometimes, it's a matter that few really give much of a thought about something. Just one person, or perhaps a small group, can change minds by bringing it to light.
On the mega level, I have noted in the past that the courts alone doesn't define the law, in fact, it is influenced by other factors. This is true even if the judge involved rests on originalism. Some give courts too much credit here. The same applies to voting. It is obviously very important, but just one tool, including to change and influence society.