“Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.”

  • — MacBeth (2.1.61)

Hint: doesn’t end well. The first clue? Title stars with “The Tragedy of…” which, as an observant person, would indicate that it isn’t going to end well.

While this is a very dated observation, it lends credibility to current conditions. Maybe it explains what’s happened and what’s happening.

I was in Austin1, before the current growth spurt, and like a child, and with that still-present child-like sense of wonder, old Austin2 was full of riotous demonstrations, fighting the power, protesting the then-current whatever. Administration. Governor, war, something.

I listened, patiently, and quietly, while a small group of student-aged kids discussed the demonstration they had just participated in.

“We were, like, laying in the street, blocking traffic on Congress (Ave, in front of the state capitol), then, you know, we’d get up and go in this bar right there, do some shots, and come back. Lie in the street again.”

  • “You vote yet?” I asked.

“You mean, like in the election? Nah, man, I’m still registered back home, and I won’t be able to.”

Herein is the problem, the exact challenge our democracy faces: if one has a right to vote, I maintain, we have a moral obligation to vote. Might require a little effort, and forethought, but it is worth the effort.


I can’t place the exact time of the conversation, either 2000 or 2004, be my best guess. Might’ve been earlier, but 2004 would seem right, as I was circulating in Austin 3, and downtown, quite a bit then.


While I applaud that urge to civil disobedience, but personally, I’m not a fan of any kind of violent display, the local attack ads are a bloody, horrendous mess with blatant distortions of the truth on both sides. I have my opinions, and I keep those to myself.

The poignant take-away point, still valid all these years later? That point wherein possible participants, they were active enough to risk arrest with passive civil disobedience, where making that statement shows up by voting. Not talking about it, citing.

There’s a requirement to vote. It’s a right, not just an opportunity. Locally, there is some perception of voter oppressions4, and I can’t answer that.

Signs in the yard5, discussing political questions6, all of that is good. But the single most important piece?


Apathy is the enemy.

  1. Old Austin, of myth and lore.
  2. Yes, that Austin.
  3. An Austin coven.
  4. Vote my mail in Texas.
  5. Perot. ’92
  6. Friends and different views.

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