Power of the Voter?

I thought Barack Obama’s speech in Denver last night was a very well crafted piece of political propaganda, and extremely well-delivered as well.  John McSame McCain will have to travel quite a distance to get out of the hole.  I’m mildly interested in the result.

The DNC, in general, provided us with four days of boring American exceptionalist manipulative cant.  At that place that used to be called Mile High Stadium, the producers and directors of Hollywood and big money music-land displayed themselves in all their tacky, goofy, sentimental, nationalist, sloppy glory.  I must admit, it was often humorous.  I’m not sure who the country and western singer was who interrupted the coronation of the prince at the end of the speech from the throne, but truly, it did make me laugh.  After I threw up.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if Pa, Hoss and Little Joe had ridden across the sky on their way to the Ponderosa, galloping along to the theme tune of “Bonanza”.  T’would have been fitting for, indeed, it was a Democratic bonanza.

Sheesh.  Glad it’s over and glad to find this post from the American Left with a solid discussion of the meaning of a citizen’s vote in the land of the free:

There is no more generally accepted truism in this country that the notion that exercising the right to vote is always a good thing. People and parties may seek to intimidate others from doing it, or make it difficult for them to do it, but the concept of voting itself is considered an act of personal participation and empowerment. Conversely, refusing to do so is a form of civic treason and submission.

But it is really that simple? Consider, for example, that we live in socioeconomically diverse country with over three hundred million people, yet we retain a two party political system that solidified itself in 1800, when the country had a population of just over five million, mostly white, black and rural. Does our political system now provide sufficient means of participation and electoral alternatives so that it can be said to offer an opportunity for most citizens to give expression to their values?

The question really answers itself, doesn’t it? Of course, it doesn’t. The dirty secret of this republic is that it relies upon millions of alienated, captive voters to participate in elections, and, hence, legitimize them, even though their issues, their concerns and their values are nowhere to be seen in the candidates offered by the Republicans and the Democrats.

So, if you are one of these people, why should you vote? We all know the answer to this question, too. Most of us in this situation vote as a reflexive self-defense mechanism. On the left, we know that the US is capitalist and militaristic, so we try to discern which candidates will pursue less avaracious and violent policies domestically and abroad. This is pretty much the line of reasoning of those who signed the open letter to Obama.

Unfortunately, even if you are smart enough to interpret the opaque and contradictory messages put out by the candidates on these subjects, and make the right choice, such a reformist approach invariably pushes one into a position of active collusion with the actions of the candidate once elected. If you were a fiscal conservative in the 1980s, you found yourself rationalizing the profligacy of the Reagan presidency. If you were a social welfare services supporter of Clinton in the 1990s, you found yourself having to explain welfare reform. Unless, you just said to hell with them, which some do in this sort of situation.

Read the whole thing here


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