I’m attempting to post a brief meditation on the daily quote from my Election Day advent calendar. Today brings us:
Those who profess to favor freedom,
and yet depreciate agitation
are men who want crops without plowing up the ground,
they want rain without thunder and lightning.
Power concedes nothing without demand.
It never did and it never will.
Perhaps this is the crux of Emma Goldman’s frustration with the vote. Simply casting a ballot seems so passive, and, in a world where you don’t or can’t trust the system, futile.
What I like about this is that Douglass plowing the fields, a thunderstorm—these are productive, constructive metaphors. After you plow, the ground is more receptive to the planting. You can’t do without the rain. Speaking up, asking questions, and challenging power is a necessary and healthy part of the process.