Tuesday, March 26, 2002

The New Super-Minority

John Nichols of The Nation has a fascinating article about the reinvigoration of the American Left, as symbolized most recently by the Rolling Thunder Down-Home Democracy Tour - aka, The Lollapalooza of the Left held in Austin, Texas. Speakers encouraged fellow travelers to speak out and dissent regarding the policies of the Bush administration. As with any mass movement, a siege mentality seems to have pervaded the audience. But at the same time that citizens were getting their vanguard groove on, speakers like Michael Moore declared that they held an even greater advantage:

"Echoing the slogan emblazoned on stickers many at the event wore, Moore declared, 'We are the majority in this country.'"

It seems a strange turn of events that the brave revolutionaries of "true democracy" can be both a persecuted minority and an invigorated majority. The Left used to revel in the idea that they were an enlightened few, slashing through the bland assumptions of capitalist culture to liberate the masses from their ideological stupor. They seem now, if this event is any sign, to have lost that inner confidence. They can dissent, but only if it represents what most people already think. In the face of the astronomically high approval ratings of George W., their minority status would seem to be assured. Yet they dismissed W.'s poll numbers as mere bullshit. Can they have it both ways? For some perspective, see also James Lileks' most recent Screed on Michael Moore's current book tour.

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