Political Conventions: RNC


The Republican Convention is over. It was a better show than the Democrat one.  It had 732 more balloons and 860 more American flags, it spent $730,000 more on sound and light effects, it had more and worse crooners, and a special pedestal, a large circular affair, was built for President Bush.  He had his own claque, the Texan delegation waving their white hats in unison´ With the frequent references to God, it was reminiscent of a coronation invoking the divine right of kings.  How did the speeches compare?  Don't worry about that.  They were just part of the sound effects.

Compare this with the Founding Fathers,a small group meeting behind closed doors in secret session to hammer out  the Declaration and the Constitution so carefully designed that it has stood the test of time. How did America advance from this to that?  An important and unfortunate development was the era of Jacksonian democracy, when "we, the people" came to really mean "we, the people".  However. the great change has come about in modern times. The first cause has been the development of communications. Airlines can bring delegates in a few hours to the site of the convention, and TV brings the convention into homes throughout the country. The delegates had large signs which they waved at the TV cameras. Advertising techniques were used in drafting the program.  Each little act was calculated to appeal to a segment of the public.The show business has made literally spectacular progress, and the campaign finance laws have been so crafted that large corporations can pay for the hoopla and the parties which are a bait for delegates.  In Philadelphia people simply gossiped about what was going on in Independence Hall.  In New York mobs of protestors, suitably attired to attract television, got more publicity by being arrested.  These were supposed to be working days.  What happened to work? Work? Everyone had a good time.

Oh, the irony!  While I was typing this, In got a call from the Republican headquarters in Washington  trying to elicit from me a statement supporting the convention. I said that both conventions were a disgrace.  I doubt that my remarks will be published. So we return to my original question. How did we come from that to this? If only the Founding Fathers had adopted the tried and tested parliamentary system, the level of the Philadelphia conventions could have been maintained.

I contrasted the sober seriousness of the Founding Fathers with the hoopla of the recent conventions and asked: "How did we come from that to this?".

John Heelan comments: "Because "corporate America" has bought and paid for the US political process and uses conventions as marketing tools to "push their product" on the more gullible sections of the public.  The pursuit of profit and power has no room for outdated concepts such as truth and ethics.".

Peter Orne writes: "Those are good comments from Daryl DeBell. Why is it that Republicans embrace nationalism and patriotism so much more tightly than Democrats and liberals? ("USA! USA! USA!" was the chant last night in Madison Square Garden, as at a football rally.) Why would keynote speaker Zell Miller (D-Georgia) claim 9/11 as devastating to the future of his and conventioneers' families, and not to all Americans, especially New Yorkers? Why would Miller list only massive weapons programs as the chief tools for fighting terrorism and not the 60-year, postwar web of multilateral diplomatic cooperations among the nations of the world? What is it in the blood of this week's conventioneers that causes it to boil so readily at the "Other" while many Democrats recite "Not In Our Name"? Could it be simply that one gets up on the right side of the bed in the morning, in bad humor, always after a bit of bad beef, and the other gets up on the left, to munch on wheat grass?" 

RH: The Republican circus was pretty much like the Democratic one. One difference was that  the Republicans growled like an angry monster at the mention of the UN and John Kerry. Cheney remained calm and collected.

 

Ronald Hilton -


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