I've posted the Twain quote around quite a lot in online communities, and
gotten some good responses. The majority of Americans are never called in
polls. The majority of polls cited support the cause of the day.
I believe men and women and goodwill and sanity are largely keeping their
heads down. The rhetoric of the administration has shown a shocking lack of
concern for even minimal standards of reason. Proof is never produced. Empty
rhetoric and jingoistic bullying has more or less stood in where debate
should be. The distinctive whipcracky sound of dusty flags being waved
vigorously has drowned out most of the voices of dissent, and the major media
outlets (in particular cable news) have blindly bought into and perpetuated
every over-statement and cheap trick and act of terror-mongering.
I live in Texas, and work at one of the most politically conservative
universities in the nation. I'm teaching "Civil Disobedience" and Rousseau on
the will of the people. I feel a chilly reticence in my students. Dissent
frightens them. Reason has been shown to have little weight in high places.
These are the kids who will go and fight shortly. Some are in officer
training, some in the national guard.
I keep hoping there's some backbone and some brains left in America. That
people will stand up and demand some answers. That they will realize that
grief and shock don't necessarily demand the surrender of our rights and our
I keep hoping.