middle brow | citizen how

ten short years.

remember that blue dress. or the floss dance. or that little girl who grabbed a white pigeon by the face, took the bread bit out of its mouth and ate it herself?

in talking last week about this country's crisis of legitimacy, i ignored a very important distinction. just to recap a bit here: the reason, we're told by scientists of society, that people believe tiny common-knowledge lies is that they often speak to some deeper truth about the world. and in which we believe. so, some voters "believe" that brett kavanaugh didn't attack dr. ford because they first believe that political conservatives are under constant cultural attack. but they don't even get to that point without there being a crisis of legitimacy at play, the scholar's scholarship finds. and what crisis of legitimacy is at play in america today, does he say? very much a political one, whereby the rich and powerful are governed by a different set of rules than the powerless. 

i went on to say that we can help change things for the better by, effectively, deriding cultural conservatives a whole fuckload less. and yes! that's still true!! things would likely improve if we on the left did that. but here's the important, related point that i ignored: while everyone can see our politics and our culture are badly damaged, we tend to focus too much on fixing each in isolation. just like i did last week. to wit: my 'stop yelling at union workers for eating cheeseburgers!!!' is an attempt to empower the working class culturally. but ................ BUT

it also empowers them politically. and it likely does so more effectively than more traditional political actions would. hear me up. you can change policies by changing the political actors who effect them. and, in a democracy, thank goddess, you can change political actors simply by voting! right?! well... no. not really. it's super disingenuous to suggest otherwise. it's sad but true that in most cases your vote in and of itself would not change anything. your tendency to vote might, though. by keeping you active civically. etc. etc. a conversation for another time. but the bigger point is, the solitary act of voting does not often cause change. (we're all very proud voters. just for other reasons.) this flies in the face of traditional arguments about political change. vote! vote! vote! (no no. you must do so much more.)

so, while you can hardly change politics with one vote every 2-4 years. you can change culture quickly. and that might be the best way to change politics. in other words, if we make it so the same cultural rules apply to you no matter whether you're rich or poor. black or white. right or left—and, as discussed last week, this is something we can do immediately! if we start treating the working power as good as the leisurely rich. then we start delegitimizing wealth and power in general. when excessive wealth power are seen for what they are—namely, unproductive, inefficient, embarrassing, ugly—the excessively wealthy and powerful will have a harder time retaining political power. and will lose control of the levers of rule- and decision-making. and political legitimacy can be restored. 

this is all a bit pie-in-the-sky. but, ask yourself, what's more likely to work? a viral instagram vid deriding wealth and power. or a quiet vote against a billionaire but for a millionaire? you might ask yourself, or me: isn't this a bit hypocritical? just last week you castigated liberals for making fun of conservatives, robbing them of their cultural legitimacy. and it's true! i did! what i'm saying here, though, is that the derision was misplaced. we allowed the wealthy to divide us along cultural lines, so that we didn't notice the extreme economic divisions between us and them. we should have been making fun of the excessively wealthy all this time. ... it took less than ten years time to trigger them death-throe spasms in republicans. that bodes well for a plan to take on the dickhead-rich.

in conclusion: we're voters. but we're also protesters. and we also stand up for the union teacher's desire to drink a macro lager after school. as a way to take both cultural and political power from the elite. it might take time. but we're pulling every stop.

til then...