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

Denver (Cops) Bullies

Those big, strong, tough cops in Denver with all their gear take down a CodePink protester whose crime was?  This infuriates me …

UPDATE:  Those Denver cops just can’t keep their hands off people – and it appears they haven’t done their sensitivity training –

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

A cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker’s neck, then twisted the producer’s arm behind him to put on handcuffs.

A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.

 Eslocker was put in handcuffs and loaded in the back of a police van which headed for a nearby police station.

Video taken at the scene shows a man, wearing the uniform of a Boulder County sheriff, ordering Eslocker off the sidewalk in front of the hotel, to the side of the entrance.  

The sheriff’s officer is seen telling Eslocker the sidewalk is owned by the hotel. Later, he is seen pushing Eslocker off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, forcing him to the other side of the street.

It was two hours later when Denver police arrived to place Eslocker under arrest, apparently based on a complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel, a central location for Democratic officials.  

During the arrest, one of the officers can be heard saying to Eslocker, “You’re lucky I didn’t knock the f..k out of you.”  

Eslocker was released late today after posting $500 bond.  

Eslocker and his ABC News colleagues are spending the week investigating the role of corporate lobbyists and wealthy donors at the convention for a series of Money Trail reports on ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.”

There’s a link to video here

I don’t know what the by-laws of the City of Denver look like, but in my city, sidewalks are public property.

Senator Rodham Clinton

It’s been too long since I’ve said a word about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I’ll let Nichola Gutgold do it for me:

That Hillary Clinton’s name is being placed in nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention next week in Denver is the subject of much controversy.  “Hillary Haters” are pointing to the ongoing Clinton drama.  “Hillary Lovers” are rejoicing that she will be recognized for her historic presidential bid.  I propose a middle ground:  While Hillary Clinton’s bid is historic in a multitude of ways—love her or hate her—there is precedence for her name to be placed in nomination before a major party. 

At the Cow Palace in San Francisco on July 15, 1964, Margaret Chase Smith, the reserved Republican Maine senator who made a bid for the presidency, was greeted with cheers from a reception of supporters who declared:  “She is still in the race!”  Vermont Senator George Aiken nominated her at the convention, and one admirer noted, “Every woman, Republican and Democrat, owes a debt of gratitude to Margaret Chase Smith because she has opened the door for a woman to serve in the presidency.”  By the end of the convention, Margaret Chase Smith came in second with 27 delegates.  She offered advice to future candidates when she said, “If I were to run again, I would organize every state and go for the delegates at least two years in advance.” 

Eight years later, New York Congresswoman, the “unbought and unbossed” Shirley Chisholm, received 151 of the delegates’ votes at the convention in Miami.  She wanted to effect political change with the power of her delegates.  At a speech she said:  “I’m just so thankful that in spite of the differences of opinions, the differences of ideology, and even sometimes within the women’s movement the differences of approaches, that here we are today at a glorious gathering of women in Miami.” 

Fast-forward to 2008—and Hillary Clinton will have her name placed in nomination at the Democratic National Convention.  This isn’t a sign of weakness on the part of Barack Obama, as some pundits have suggested.  Instead, he is honoring her remarkable achievement, recognizing precedence for this, and paying a proper tribute. In addition, the 18 million voters who chose Clinton deserve recognition. 

Hillary Clinton is making history and she is supporting the presumptive nominee, Barack Obama. Larry Scanlon, political director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said: “She sought to be the first woman nominated for president. She came up a little short, but she made it easier for the next female candidate to get the brass ring. Many in the Democratic Party would like to celebrate that. I think that they should celebrate that.”  Hillary Clinton is not stealing Barack Obama’s thunder, and she isn’t creating divisiveness within the Democratic Party.  A national party convention has come to be a celebration, and there is much to cheer about Hillary Clinton nearly shattering the glass ceiling.

See the whole thing at the Women’s Media Center