Thursday, September 06, 2012

How Democracy Works

Party platforms are pretty meaningless documents, really, and I don’t usually pay any attention to them. They are much bandied about during conventions and much ado is made over them, and then everyone forgets that they even exist until four years later when it’s convention time again. Their content is utterly meaningless, but sometimes the process of adding or removing content can be revealing.

This year’s Democratic platform omitted language supporting a commitment to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and any language about God, omissions which I happen to think were good ideas. Jerusalem is a holy site to Muslims and making it the capital of Israel is highly controversial and is none of our business, and I strongly support keeping politics secular.

Obama was not having it, he wanted both things restored to the platform, so he sent a former state governor to the convention who declared that, “as an ordained United Methodist minister I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform.” That pretty much defines the Democratic Party as theocratic, so if you don’t want a religious state…

Jonathan Turley describes in detail the voting process that resulted in the “planks” being added to the platform, and much more detail on the issues involved. There were three voice votes involved, each one more clearly negative than the one preceding it, but the chair pronounced the measure passed anyway.

Thus the convention is revealed as “sounding brass, filled with noise and fury, signifying nothing.” What votes are held are merely for show, because all decisions are made at party headquarters, and the party members who make up the “democracy” of the political organization are there only to fill the seats and make things look good.

The main stream media is so busy reporting on how “Michelle Obama wowed them” and “Bill Clinton knocked their socks off” that they have no time to report on little insignificant things such as this utter failure of democracy, and there is little evidence that anyone would care even if they did report it.

The third comment in the discussion following Turley’s post, I think, sums up the state of our electorate. After saying that this whole thing was a “non-issue,” the commenter went on to say that, “The Clinton speech was fabulous,“ and that, “So far the convention has been a huge success.”

So we don’t see democracy as having our voices heard, or making our opinions count; democracy is about being entertained by great speeches.

1 comment:

bruce said...

But isn't that what gets politicians elected? "great speeches" ? The flip side of that of course is bullshit (piled high), smoke and mirrors, obfustication, empty promises and colgate smiles. Isn't politics grand?

Post a Comment