Asking the Impossible: Save Me From You People


“Democratize the public” means “rigorous [i.e. tiresome] self-promotion.” The contradiction that the public interest becomes an instrument of self-promotion is basically forgotten. To borrow the metaphor of a former advisor, this amounts to “saturation bombing” the community with one’s presence in the (vain) hope of instilling or (ridiculous as it sounds) inspiring participation by essentially harassing the public.

     Ironically, as Žižek points out in Violence, people are turning to democratic leaders for protection from just the harassment that party organizers believe in and subject the public to, which creates a paradox in American democratic society. It’s a perverse incentive of elections that says more or less “Save Me From You,” where “You” is the politicians, pollsters, party activists, party managers and campaign managers.

     In short, a conflict of the alacrity of the base versus the reticence of the broader constituency that centers on opportunity cost, what Sartre called the Practico-Inert. In the next election cycle, in which the incumbent candidate is said to have a goal of raising more than $1bn in funds, the public should consider taking a “marooned” approach and show support for candidates and contribute their own version of thinking the unthinkable by asking the impossible: “Save Me From You People.”

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