erik lundegaard

Friday March 22, 2024

Poking Holes in Potatoes

Voting rights attorney Marc Elias recently posted an excerpt from a 2022 New Yorker profile of him on social media. Worth reading the excerpt:

One evening, when I was talking to Elias, trying to glean what he does when he isn't working—nothing, apparently, except play with his four dogs (Frost told me that Elias “probably needs more hobbies”)—he told me a story. It was about a man whom Elias met around the time of his bar mitzvah. “This guy, an American prisoner of war, who was Jewish, in Nazi Germany, was put in a work camp where he had to pick potatoes,” Elias said. “He and the other men would take little pieces of barbed wire from the fence, and stick holes in the potatoes” to make them more perishable. “Just imagine an undernourished prisoner of war, in a thin uniform, with no gloves, in the winter, taking barbed wire in his bare hands and poking holes so the potatoes would rot and the German Army would not have fresh potatoes.”

This is what Elias recalls when people say that his litigation won't make a difference, or that he's bringing too many cases during a time when the courts lean overwhelmingly conservative. “I'm still going to try,” Elias continued. “It may not work. But I'm going to poke holes in the potatoes for as long as I have to, until democracy is either safe or I no longer can serve any useful purpose.”

Worth reading the whole profile, entitled “The First Defense Against Trump's Assault on Democracy,” by Sue Halpern.

BTW, I can't imagine meeting or knowing Elias and your reaction to his work—to his face!—is “It won't make a difference,” rather than shame that you yourself are not doing more. 

Posted at 01:48 PM on Friday March 22, 2024 in category Law  
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