Writing

Not So Super Tuesday: 8 Quotes About the Evils of Politics

Editor's Note:

If you’re stirred by these author quotes, amble down our archive for more.

By the time Super Tuesday rolls around (the cluster of primary elections determining which candidates will survive to duke it out in November) most reasonable citizens have found themselves questioning whether democracy is worth all the effort — if it could still truly be said to exist at all.

In observance of the media hurricane which is about to make landfall, including our own masochistic participation as we endure the Facebook rants of coworkers from two jobs ago, and they ours, here are a few words from authors who have lived every week like it’s Super Tuesday, effusively grousing as they clear paths for others to tread toward a better system.

1. Gore Vidal, Screening History, 1992:
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”

2. Emma Goldman, Living My Life, Volume 1, 1931:
“Politicians promise you heaven before election and give you hell after.”

3. Barbara Ehrenreich, This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation, 2008:
“You can turn away the Mexicans, the African-Americans, the teenagers and other suspect groups, but there’s no fence high enough to keep out the repo man.”

4. Winston S. Churchill, Churchill Speaks: Collected Speeches in Peace and War, 1998:
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

5. H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy, 1926:
“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me— has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

6. Euripides, Orestes, 408 BC:
“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”

7. Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1998:
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…”

8. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, 2007:
“The parties with the most gain never show up on the battlefield.”