The Brooklyn Papers inform us that Ed Towns and other Democratic superdelegates of that party are going to vote for Hillary Clinton’s nomination despite the fact that the district voted for Obama. We all have our thoughts about the promise and capabilities of the Democratic nominees for president. However there is a profound danger in making the vote of the people irrelevant.
Yes, it is a party primary and parties are created to function in their own interest. It is not an election, but our national sense of unity has been shattered over the last seven years. It is also a fool’s errand to think that, “anyone but Bush” will be better. A new president won’t necessarily change things that much because the president will face a wall of opposition from the Republicans in Congress while dealing with the festering wounds created by the Bush Administration. Most obvious is the fact that the economy has been profoundly mismanaged since the Reagan Administration and the bill has now come due.
There is a lot of corruption, neglect and incompetence that will have to be faced and rethought. The real symbol of our nation now is the City of New Orleans. That ruined and abused community represents much of what the Republican Party has done to many aspects of our nation here at home and abroad. Patience, reason and prudence will have to return to the national agenda, but none of that will replace our sense of hope.
There is one thing missing from the current political agenda and it has been disappearing since the days of Nixon and is nearly absent due to the current President Bush. We have all but lost our trust in each other and in government, and with that, hope that democracy can work. No party, no ideology, no burst of prosperity, nor any short-term fix can repair that damage.
Americans have lost hope that their system of government is theirs. They sustain it with the fortunes, their effort and their lives. They participate as voters, and yet, after the election of 2000, it became clear that elections can be shanghaied to accommodate the agendas of a small minority. The Republicans -- bolstered by the marriage of two groups of thugs, the Religious Right and the Neocons -- relished that power. With the White House in hand, that tiny coalition took over Congress and now it is nearly as inert as the latter days of the Politburo.
If the Democratic Party is going to adopt the cynical Republican tactics and force the views of their leadership on the electorate, Americans will more and more turn away from government as Europeans do. It will simply be a corrupt obstruction for our citizens – much like organized crime – to live with and get around. Cynicism may be facile and childish, but often it is the only option when those in power encourage it.
The problem is not Mrs. Clinton, nor is Mr. Obama the solution. The problem is that we have become a nation of top down politics with no balance to ensure that the will of the people is somehow at least felt in the operations of government. The two party system as it stands now is making voters irrelevant.