Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nasty, Bruttish and Sara

"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

I walk through the muggy Korean evening towards the Lonely Hearts Club with a T-Shirt on proclaiming Nasty, Brutish and Short.

Over my shoulder is an Emily Strange bag stuffed with blank voter registration forms, Obama buttons, and a book that will help me to register voters in any state or territory of the Union. I walk with me stuffs towards my appointment for Wednesday night voter registration drive at the Lonely Hearts Club.

I wore the t-shirt for a reason.

I keep thinking about the country I've left. The country I want so desperately to love again. A country which has fallen so desperately towards the brink of being lost forever. I wonder if the Romans ever felt this way as their empire fell. And I think of Hobbes. I think of the world Hobbes outlines, a world in which society no longer participates in supporting that which is good, that which is possible, but instead breaks down into bitter infighting with lives cut short but a thousand abuses.

I think this and still I go down to register Americans abroad to vote. I've had friends cynically tell me "Why bother, our votes don't count. Don't you know they just through away absentee ballots."

"The right of nature, which writers commonly call jus naturale, is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto."

"Let me see your shirt." Says the Jogger and she reads it out loud.

"Sexy." She says.

"Are you familiar with Hobbes?"

"No, what's that."

I take over a table to get ready for the registration.

"Let me see your shirt." Says another. And they read it out loud.

"I like it."

"Have you read Hobbes?"

"No, what's it about."

I order a drink and I put out the forms and prop up the sign and start passing out buttons, particularly to those who have volunteered during my vacation time to take voter registration.

Koreans come in and ask for Obama buttons, Canadians, Gi's from the South, and the Russian stops in and says, "Sara, long time, almost three months."

"Yes. How have you been?" I ask him in return.

"Yes, I've been home. I went to Russia last month, in Russia yes. It's not so good a time to be in Russia."

"Yes. War. Retaliation. It must be difficult."

"Do you play chess?" He asks.

"A little."

"Move. Counter move. Every move means you have to move. Da?"

"...yet in all times kings and persons of sovereign authority, because of their independency, are in continual jealousies, and in the state and posture of gladiators, having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another; that is, their forts, garrisons, and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms, and continual spies upon their neighbours, which is a posture of war. But because they uphold thereby the industry of their subjects, there does not follow from it that misery which accompanies the liberty of particular men."


He stares at me and notices the letters on my shirt and reads them.

"Mmmmm. Hobbes. Yes. You read Nietzsche too, da?"


We talk for a while discussing politics and philosophy.

"What's this?" He asks pointing to the buttons.

"Obama buttons. For people who want them."

"Da, I'll take two." And he picks one up and pins it to his shirt.

Several more people read my shirt during the night. I receive compliments on the wit but no on is familiar with themeaning with the intent;the reasoning behind creating social contracts, upholding social contracts, understanding how society interacts in a peaceful way for the good of all.

I registered another six people to vote before Hyun looks at me.

"Sara, that looks like politics."

I check the time, it's after midnight.

"I'll put it away for tonight."

"I like your shirt." He says. I smile.


Tony said...

I like your shirt and I'll take my button, thank you very much. Also, thank you for what you are doing.

Saradevil said...

Hey, I have a button with your name on it.

I'd need an address though!