Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Turn Off the DNC

I don't watch the Democratic National Convention for the same reason I fast forward through commercials - facts matter much more than scripted entertainment designed to sell something - and at the end of the day, even if you know the product is rotten and people are exploited making it, that little voice in your head will still be hammering away: "why not just buy it? everyone else is. those cancer causing, artificial flavors are really tasty and probably won't affect your health any time soon."  In fact, I think it is a real problem that so many of my progressive colleagues watch at all; Because it is difficult to not be inspired by some of the rhetoric, caught up in the occasional sincerity (which may or may not be genuine), and wrapped up in the importance of a major pep rally for the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

Ultimately it is a show for one of two political parties holding major positions of power in our American empire - an expensive show for a political party raising hundreds of millions of dollars just for this one election and this one political office.  To be clear, if someone put a gun to my head and said "which do you prefer, the Republican or the Democrat," the easy and obvious answer would be the Democrat, but I have no interest in cheering on either establishment political party. Yet that's what these shows are designed for: cheering.  They are not unlike the political parades and party rallies in despotic countries, though with more polish to be sure.

Should I vote for Obama?  Should I at least reluctantly vote for him?  At least against Romney?  Maybe.  That is not what this post is about.  It is about this Democratic National Convention that has suddenly excited some in the Democratic base who, just a few months ago, were soberly assessing the pitiful record of Hope and Change.  Well-written speeches, no doubt.  People at the table who would not be at the table at the RNC - yes, of course.  Does that matter?  Yes.  What matters more?  One million people deported.   The 13 civilians killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen this weekend, and all the other innocent men, women and children killed by our reckless foreign policy.  Employment rights for queer people.  Civil liberties.  Global Warming.  Really big issues that affect millions of people – issues the Democratic Party is unwilling to or unable to deal with in any serious way.  I don't expect perfect, but these are not minor points, and the Democrats have no incentive to do anything differently if everyone from the center on to the far left are going to cheer them on and give them a pass.

Check out the debates perhaps.  Read some non-corporate, non-partisan, analysis of the political pep rally perhaps.  But I wouldn't watch.  It's too dangerous - even for me.