[-empyre-] Shadows in the Dawn

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sun Mar 19 13:54:10 AEDT 2017

Hi Johannes, and everyone,

And thank you for your reply of course, and participation here; what I've 
been thinking about, thanks in part to Samantha Bee's fury on Full Frontal 
last week * - what kinds of participation are possible? How does one 
engage in the first place? What sort of engagement produces a pat on the 
back which is stillborn? She referred (and the details may be wrong here 
but the tenor is not) to a mayoral election in Los Angeles - a city which 
has had vociferous response, resistance, in the form of actions - art, 
yes, probably theater as well, marches with maybe between half a million 
and a million participants, all of this. But the crux was the election 
itself, in which only 11% of the eligible voters cast their ballots. So 
what the hell here? The democratic candidate won by a small margin, but 
that was all. And elsewhere, the same pattern repeats itself, no voting, 
no getting one's hands dirty touching the lever, taking the time out to 
actually make a difference. That pattern apparently has been repeated 
across the United States, particularly in local elections, where DIWO - do 
it with others - seems to be replaced with LITO - leave it to others. This 
is fundamental here. We're addicted to screens, to an imminence; I hear 
almost nothing said about the historic low turnouts of voters. So many 
people are disaffiliated, waiting perhaps to see what Trump will do? The 
rallies here in RI are filled with calls to VOTE; I have no idea how that 
will play out. But across the country, people sign online petitions, write 
congresspeople, call, but don't go to the ballotbox. And the results are 

Bee brought up the Tea Party and its right-wing agenda - how successful 
they've been precisely because they've been motivated to vote. I almost 
want to bring Lacan into this, how do we move from the symbolic to the 
real, from the signs to the lever, from the indexical to the ikonic? Or do 
we think that it's walking that makes a fundamental difference to a 
democratic order, pressing Send on a screen poll, rather than casting a 

has some details; the national vote was 55%, low. So many people I know 
weren't voting for HRC, just dropping out...

So the question might be, in the US, how do we engage? Everyone I know is 
waiting for the elections two years from now - but if voters aren't 
motivated we'll be stuck with the same mess we're in.

- Alan

* A political weekly television segment on TBS -

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