Saturday, August 11, 2018

#223 / Who Has The Power? Voters Do!

My blog posting on July 22, 2018, made the claim that voters have the ultimate power in our country and that mobilizing the voting power of ordinary Americans is the "front door" to political power in the United States. 

I did receive some understandable pushback on that claim. Here is one comment:

Would that it were so that power ultimately resides with the people. The reality of power in the United States falls far short of this ideal. 
Even here in Our Fair City and County, power is rapidly devolving from the people to unelected City and County staff, development interests and entrenched political economic influence. 
Even worse, there seems to be little interest in the majority of citizens to work to regain control of the political process. Decades of discouragement, ubiquitous computer and "smart" phone usage have resulted in a populace divorced from "American Power."

This comment, in my view, is totally on target as a description of current realities, both in my hometown and nationally. However, I won't relinquish the idea that "power ultimately resides with the people." 

Unused and unexercised power is power still. It is all too easy to fall into the "observer's fallacy," which assumes that the reality we "see" defines the actual extent of reality itself. We are observers, true, and we do need to pay close attention to the realities we confront in our daily lives. We are, however, not only observers. We are actors, as well. 

The "ultimate" nature of all human reality depends on what we "do," and is not delimited by what we see. The human world we most immediately inhabit is a world that humans make, and we can make any kind of world at all, from dream to nightmare, depending on what we do. Of course, it does take a lot of work (a lifetime of work), and lots of collaboration, to change an existing reality into something different. "Ultimately," though, the human world is the world we make.

Just in case there is any doubt about the importance of the voting power of ordinary citizens, just remember that the rich and entitled are doing everything they possibly can to suppress voting. Here is a link to an editorial comment on just that topic, from a religious perspective. I subscribe to Sojourners Magazine and read this commentary on voter suppression right after reading the comment I have quoted above. I think the active hostility to voting, by the elites who now seem so "powerful," validates my contention that it is, ultimately, the voters who have the power to determine our future.

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