Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I usually don't care for the format of political debates, but I thoroughly enjoyed yesterdays Youtube debate format.
This was a testament of the impact that ordinary people can have on the political process, if given the opportunity. I hate these political pundits over analyzing debates and telling us how to think. I also hate the restrictions of the typical debate and the lack of flexibility on the part of the moderators. Yesterdays debate was more open.
When the public is able to participate in these debates, the questions and answers tend to be more interesting. Of course the debate was not perfect, but it was a step up from all the other debates so far. Of course the networks decide which questions get asked... that's one big drawback.
I would prefer to see Town Hall style debates, where members of the public get to ask the questions directly to the candidates, and where viewers could follow along online and ask questions via e-mail or message board. I would have also liked to see a presence of more alternative candidates...But I guess I shouldn't expect too much. It will be interesting to see how hard Republicans and Democrats work to keep alternative candidates out of the debates once the Primary season is over. But as of right now, I guess I will have to be happy with whatever remnants of Democracy that I can get.
Anderson Cooper hardly allowed Mike Gravel any time to speak. Nevertheless... It was great having Mike Gravel on one end and Dennis "The Menace" Kucinich on the other...giving these big money (Corporate Owned) special interests candidates all kinds of Hell. They were perfect bookends for the debate.
And Hillary Clinton continued to lie about pulling troops from Iraq. No one called her on her lies. I will be back on Daily Kos soon, screaming about it again. Will Democrats challenge her on this issue? I doubt it.... because she is their super star candidate and she can do no wrong in the eyes of many Democrats. She was also wrong on the issue of international diplomacy. I heard a lot of "Business as Usual" from Hillary, and many of the other Democrats. U.S. foreign policy is one area where the Democrats and the Republicans are not too far apart. Both parties = the War party. This is how we end up the Democrats competing with each other and with Republicans in a contest to see who could be the toughest, biggest pro-war candidate. We may as well have one political party in this country...because this is essentially what we already have in terms of foreign policy.
Kucinich and Obama were the only candidates who offered any inkling of a decent foreign policy. But Kucinich certainly has no chance of winning.... and in the end, I don't think that voters will give Obama the Democratic Party nomination. So we are left with at least 15 pro-war candidates (both Republican and Democrat).
This country won't see anything resembling Democracy until more political parties (viable ones) are able to emerge....which they are unable to do right now. It takes money and a lot of grassroots power for that to happen, and few Americans are even thinking of that possibility. There is no effort to challenge either party. Most Americans are stuck in the 2 Party mindset. It's almost as if they have been indoctrinated to only accept a 2 Party system. This means that we will be stuck with the 2 Party dictatorship for years to come.
Until the day comes when more Political Parties have a real seat at the table, and when big money plays less of a part in the process... I will continue to be a non-voter. It is a pointless exercise to vote in a system that is inherently antithetical to Democracy. Anyone participating in the current voting system ironically becomes part of the act... part of the delusion that a real Democracy exists. It's like voting in Iran or Pakistan (fake ceremonial Democracy).
Hell... Iraq is ironically more of a Democracy than the U.S. in terms of its political structure, the voting process, and the diversity of voices at the table. We have troops dying for that system (where there are dozens of political parties), yet there is no real Democracy here at home for the U.S. soldier when he returns. The irony is unbelievable.
I envy the systems of Canada and Europe...where Democracy is still alive. Most of the governments in Europe are much more accountable and responsive to the needs and concerns of their people. This is due to how their governments are set up. Politicians in Europe (generally speaking) get sent home for not taking care of business. On the contrary, politicians in the U.S. system not only remain safely in their positions, but are easily re-elected after they mess up.
But the Youtube debates are a baby step in the right direction-- getting back to the man on the street... bringing politicians closer to the people in a country where they have been more and more distant from the average American.
I hope that the Youtube format or an even better Open Town Hall format catches on and becomes a normal part of each campaign season.
Posted by Brian E. at 12:57 AM