You are getting seepy

January 27

This is about seep. Seep may be the ultimate explanation for everything, the grand unification theory, the universal solvent. Diffusion through a semi-permeable membrane. And ALL membranes are semi-permeable. Everything seeps. My basement walls do. I have had a lifelong hobby of avoiding the backhoe digging a trench around my foundation to prevent seep the way the professions would recommend. First off, I want to avoid the expense. But more importantly, I don’t believe that seep can finally be stopped. Only dealt with. So I regard it as an ongoing enterprise to find holes and cracks and plug them. Knowing that another hole or crack will appear elsewhere, and seep will happen.

But today I want to look at the positive side of seep. Seepage is the whole idea behind the First Amendment. (Hole creation being the point of the Second). The popular image of Free Specch is a guy on a box. He is delivering a Big Speech to an inexplicably attentive citizenry. This does happen, but rarely. Most of the time the citizenry is home watching TV. If they are passing by, they will regard the Speaker as a crazy homeless person and walk wide around. If they regard him as sane by any chance, they will ignore him anyway. If they pay attention, they will disagree and throw fruit. It’s just the way the Guy On The Box thing usually goes.

But then there is seep. Everything anybody says to anyone, ever, gets out there into the national bloodstream. Yes even things said here in this Blog of indeterminate readership, and yes, the comments below too. It matters. Like in Casablanca. “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life.” Or maybe not so soon. But someday. So it’s not pointless for me to talk here about New Arcadia without starting an organization (yet). If it’s an idea that will find acceptance (it will), I’ve first got to say it and let the seeping get it out there. Not a giant sucking sound, a quiet infiltration gurgle.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · January 26