Dear Gabby, Jon, and Janet. (An open letter to the political winners.)

Dear Gabby, Jon, and Janet
Open letter to Gabrielle Giffords, Jon Kyl, and Janet Napolitano…

You’ve won your respective elections for jurisdictions in which I happen to reside.

I did not vote for you. I did not vote for anyone. I do not give my consent to be governed in such a manner as you propose, and so you will rule in the explicit absence of consent of at least one of the governed.

I accept that you will be my new and ongoing rulers – not morally, but in fact. I can do nothing to change it, your course is as inexorable and unstoppable as that of a killer hurricane. I can only seek to insulate myself from your influence to the greatest extent possible.

I do not delegate any authority to you. You will rule over me, not govern. Perhaps you are the kind of people to whom that thought creates some discomfort. I hope so. If it is, maybe you should print this out and tape it to your bathroom mirror, so that you may start each day with this knowledge, and that it may temper your actions.

In any case, you will rule without legitimate authority over me. In this too, I have little choice but to accept it as fact. I can only try to adjust my life in an attempt to mitigate the damage you will do to it.

You do not represent me. Your values are overtly hostile to mine, and you will work almost entirely in direct opposition to all that I value. The few cases in which that is not true will be mere coincidence. But I will continue to pursue my values in the hopes that I can accumulate them more rapidly than you can destroy them – even as you turn a portion of what I create against me.

I’m confident that I will be able to do so, and today I am free – more free than I have been in as long as I can remember. My peace of mind, my hopes for the future, and my vision of the values I wish to create are no longer influenced by the results of your election processes. I have today, in my abstinence from any voluntary involvement with you, in my refusal to grant you any sanction whatsoever, acheived a moral clarity that is more valuable than any effect that could have been acheived by a misplaced and futile attempt to use the ballot as a means of self-defense.

I’ve realized today, not just abstractly as I have for some time now, but as a concrete fact directly perceivable, that I don’t need you; yet you need me. You may claim to represent me, you may claim to rule with my consent and through a delegation of powers, but your claims cannot make it true. These are things that cannot be taken, they can only be offered voluntarily. Neither wishing, pleading, cajoling, nor threatening can change this simple fact. And though you think you can pretend otherwise, the truth is that they are vital to your purpose.

I have no illusions that my withholding of consent, the retention of my sovereign authority, my refusal to grant sanction, will be noticed by you. But it will diminish you. That diminishment may be imperceptible, beneath the level of the background noise that will dominate your awareness during your terms, but it will be real. The cumulative effect of all those that have already done so, those you write off as “apathetic” because their choices were not as clearly deliberate as mine, is already readily apparent.

But more importantly – the only important consequence, in fact – is that it will elevate me. It will elevate me back towards the stature that only a free human being is capable of.

Perhaps some day many others will join me – perhaps, if I allow myself to indulge a moment of shameless fantasy, even you yourself. Yet I am prepared to be alone in it in the likely event that such does not come to pass. You may destroy me – unlikely, but not impossible – but until that time my life will be mine. You can no longer touch it.

Credit: Human


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