June 2nd, 2008

Failure & Fanaticism

The Dems Get a Little Bass in Their Voice... for the wrong reasons

For any that did not watch the Democratic National Committee's meeting over the Florida/Michigan Primaries controversy, you really should. Don't just take the talking heads word for it. The event was fascinating and sad. I found it mesmerizingly interesting because both sides have legit grievances and people where honestly passionate about it. The meeting was open so there were presumably some pretty "regular" people in the room, and they were ruckus. It was brilliant! This will never ever be done again, the speakers were becoming irate and belligerent, the crowd jeered and cheered. At times I thought it may break down into chaos all because the crowd had the audacity to let themselves be heard and letting the party know their opinions, and if there is one thing the Republicratic party does not want to hear it is the opinions of the people. The event was messy and awkward, loud and controversial, IT WAS DEMOCRACY -- in all its abrasive caustic glory. It wasn't the sanitary squeaky clean farce of a Clinton/Obama Town Hall meeting where all the questions are plants and all the people in the room are fanatical supporter. It was a room filled with people that had literally their voice to loose.

And then there was the real shocker, the Democrats actually got a little tough. They talked about things like "liberty" and "ideals". Essentially they slapped each other around the way they SHOULD have been slapping the Bush Administration around for the past 7+ years, and then insane notions of "unity". Unity? What audacity! Unity is for automatons, it's for Republicans. Diversity -- the very ideal the Democrats are said to personify -- is not a united creed. It is, by its very essence and definition, a fractured kind of cohesion -- a notion that we are better as a vague collective alliance rather than singular and monolithic. We need unity? NO! We need ideas tested, refined, and forged in the fires of discontent. The discontent that only diversity can bring. Discontent is the virtue and unity is the vice. Unity is "shut up and sit down", Discontent is "stand and be counted". Though, after the Committee's ruling, I can see why they want the former instead of the latter.

I am inclined to disagree with rulings of the Committee. As the always humorous and sometimes even correct James Carvel has remarked, "Who died and made Iowa and New Hampshire the king makers?" I am very proud that we had honest to god "54 State" primary (to quote Obama). Civil disobedience is an important step in reform. By changing their primaries MI and FL should be commended for at least attempting to make the primary process more meaninfull and strip it from the hands of Iowans and New Hampshirians (whom I'm sure are perfectly lovely white people, but part of the problem with diversity is that you have to -- at least from time to time -- pretend to be diverse and Iowa and New Hampshire just can't do that).

I think the votes should have been counted as they were. As flawed as they were. I can understand the Obama camps reservations, and let me be clear, this has nothing to do with supporting Clinton because I don't and would bet any amount of money that if roles had been reversed and Obama had won Michigan and Florida and was behind Clinton in delegate votes his people would be just as "shrill" as Hillary's about this topic, and I would be behind his position rather than hers. It isn't a support thing, it is a confidence thing. I am no longer confident that the Democratic Party wants to listen to my or anyone else's voice. I voted absentee in 2004 in Ohio's election and my vote was never counted. It would not have likely made a difference but my vote was not counted all the same. The Democrats did nothing to get my vote counted (Clinton openly criticized Edwards for demanding the votes be counted as "pandering" -- which is largely the reason I can never vote for her).

Had I been in the peanut gallery during the proceedings I would have yelled that instead of making each vote count as 1/2 they should be counted as 3/5. Because if you are going to distribute fractional percentages of personhood, why not point out just how absurd and hurtful an idea that has always been?

I am also eagerly awaiting how this "popular vers. delegate" numbers plays out. Clinton claims to have won more of the popular vote over Obama. She claims this largely because she is not counting the caucus states because, and this is really a lesson in defeatocratisms, no one bothered to count how many people caucused. Yup, nobody bothered to take a headcount at the caucuses. Nobody thought, "Maybe this will be important." Yeah, the Primaries in this country are fine as they are. Having suffered through 2000 and the Al Gore popular vs (what amounts to) Bush wins with delegate votes, I am interested in seeing what the Dems will do, or (more than likely) not do. I am very intrigued by the popular vs. delegate vote idea in general and wonder how delegates should fit into our democracy. I am also somewhat swayed by the notion that popular vote should carry the most weight, but I eagerly await the other side's reasoning. Regardless, things are going to get interesting!

The last point I would like to make is that at this point it looks like it is going to come down to Super Delegates, which is to say, the voters voices will be for all intensive purposes silenced. "The party of the people" ladies and gentlemen. I would greatly prefer that even flawed elections from MI and FL decided who wins rather than faceless bureaucrats deciding for us. I can't help feeling like that has already happened with the 1/2 of Florida's votes being thrown out as it is.