Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I Won't Be Watching the Convention

The Democratic convention kicked off tonight and I, for one, won't be paying it much attention. Oh sure, as an on again off again political junkie I'll be devouring the coverage and hunting down transcripts but what I won't be doing much of this week or the next is tuning in to the actual coverage.

For pretty much the same reason that I gave the Olympics a pass: it's staged.

I've already been convinced that Obama is my candidate. And even more convinced that there's absolutely no way I can risk a McCain presidency. I like to think I keep myself informed about the issues - I certainly read enough sites and articles to try and keep on top of what seems to matter. So, I don't need what amounts to a weeklong commercial to shape my opinions. Speeches and video presentations for broadcast consumption. And the endless chatter of the talking heads more worried about who owns how many homes than about things like the state of our republic. It's a useless event (To me, at least. I'm aware some people set great store by it but I think those are the same people who decide which president they'd like to have on the basis of which one they'd most like to have a beer with.), carefully managed and scripted and manicured. Devoid of all drama and anything that would give me a reason to turn in - the manufactured concerns over those wacky PUMAs aside (I mean, seriously. I can see preferring McCain over Obama. I think it's, well, wrong but I can see why people think that way - about half the voting public re-elected Bush after all. What I can't see is why people would turn from Clinton and vote for McCain out of what amounts to spite. There's practically no difference between Obama and Cilnton. Not when it comes to their policies and proposals. And certainly not when they're contrasted with Johnny POW. I just, argh, really hope those people are a small but vocal minority that happen to be overrepresented. And I really fear they're not.).

I know the party elders are scared, scarred even, by the chaos of the conventions of old. Shades of the streets of Chicago in the late sixties, of battles inside and out, and the resulting footage that cloud the mind. But at least they were about democracy. With people making choices and doing more than following along with the rallying cry. They had a heart and soul that's missing - precisely because they had that dangerous edge.

These conventions are anything but dangerous. They're, instead, safely boring. And, because of it, I don't think they're worth paying much attention.

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