Sunday, July 31, 2016

A literature of power without force

I was going to discuss voting rights 
in the United States yesterday, but 
the subject called for more time than 
I could give it, with everything else 
Saturday offers - and requires. I cer-
tainly didn’t object to the subject I 
chose. I reasoned, I could pass off 
the note on voting rights to Sunday, 
and hastened into town to shop.

On my way home, I stopped at a smart 
little roadside café for a first bite 
of the day. I was followed a few min-
utes later by a young family — mother, 
father, a boy of about 7, one of about 
4, and an infant in a carrier. They as-
sumed their rôles without a hitch. The 
mother announced their requirements, 
the father fetched a stool for the in-
fant, the latter dozing silently; and 
the older brother strode about, explor-
ing the environment, until the younger 
spoke up to him, almost in a whisper, 
in a tone reserved for them: Why don’t 
you sit, and talk to me?

Immature. Narcissistic. Sexist. Needy.
That whole list of our objections now.
least of disdain. Disempowerment may
impart these elements, left to their

Representation, I understand. Direct 
democracy, I understand. Repression, 
I understand; and corruption, I thor-
oughly understand. Voting responds to 
something else. 

I know it by that question, I’d know 
its tone anywhere. It has driven this 
election, and it will do, all the way. 

Edward Hopper
Solitary Figure in a Theatre
Whitney Museum

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