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FULL POCKETS AND EMPTY CHAIRS September 6, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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The US party political conventions are great shows as they are intended to be, but how can the profound failure of leadership be explained?

The major problems confronting the people of the United States are those faced by people elsewhere, except the ideological straight jacket in which American politics appears to be conducted makes them worst, even insoluble. You have to wonder how grown people can take some of the nonsense of display seriously. I suppose that as watchdogs of democracy the traditional role of the media was to call politicians on their claims by questioning them.

There are many issues that do not get systematically looked at, or when investigated, is not widely disseminated. The classic case if the role of money in the electoral process. Karl Rove is smart in realizing the big prize it is to be had not just about electing the President but winning control of Congress. Then there is the super-sized defence and war spending, including the immoral use of drones to murder people in non-declared wars, or wars declared by presidential edict. The executive powers of the president sit oddly with the context and conception of the Republic. If bang for the buck is desirable, then it would be desirable to see the outcome in health system, which makes that result structurally impossible. Then there are consequences of the financialization of the economy and the destruction of the possibility home ownership for many. This prospect reinforced by low wages and marginal employment and enhanced by movement of jobs to slave labor factories.

It is not that these problems are not recognized, it is rather that those who are best able to articulate them are never given the billing on the main stage. The Ecological Internet is surely right when they identify climate change as the fundamental global, economic and cultural challenge:

It is profoundly disconcerting to watch U.S. Presidential political conventions argue over important yet often mundane issues of personal opinion, as there is nary a mention of abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse as global emergencies that the best scientific minds tell us threaten all of humanity’s survival and well-being.

So when politics is disconnected from realities, you are left with entertainment. Clint Eastwood addressing an empty chair sums it up nicely. His metaphor crosses more issues that perhaps he might have realized.

According to Jeanne Moos the empty chair haunts the DNC:

ELSEWHERE: . . . the usual suspects

The giddy, money-drenched, choreographed carnival in Tampa and the one coming up in Charlotte divert us from the real world—the one steadily collapsing around us. The glitz and propaganda, the ridiculous obsessions imparted by our electronic hallucinations, and the spectacles that pass for political participation mask the deadly ecological assault by the corporate state. The worse it gets, the more we retreat into self-delusion. We convince ourselves that global warming does not exist. Or we concede that it exists but insist that we can adapt. Both responses satisfy our mania for eternal optimism and our reckless pursuit of personal comfort. In America, when reality is distasteful we ignore it. But reality will soon descend like the Furies to shatter our complacency and finally our lives. We, as a species, may be doomed. And this is a bitter, bitter fact for a father to digest.

Comments»

1. klem - September 6, 2012

Most of the leftist Obama loving media reporters have called Eastwoods chair thing ‘bizarre’. The more they call it bizarre, the more people want to see it and have a chance to decide if bizarre is the correct term. It reveals just who the biased Democrat reporters and news outlets are. Eastwoods thing is great.

wmmbb - September 7, 2012

The same commentators also said that Clint Eastwood’s presentation was rambling and disconnected, which is the usual way that people get disparaged. The image will stick, as Clint Eastwood knew it would.

I have been underwhelmed by the procedural democracy on show at both conventions. I suppose there are a large number of delegates, but surely they should be entitled to vote and opportunity given for debate. At the RNC, Ron Paul supporters were given notice that they should not have bothered to attend, and at the DNC the party platform was amended on the voices. At savvy commentators have noted in both cases it seems the backroom deals are the key to policy development.

2. 730reportland - September 7, 2012

Hey Duck-Pond, the biggest problem for Washington politics, which Canberra politics has followed like a brainless zombie, is the system spends 12-18 months building expectations to idiotic Levels. The embedded media cheer-lead this along. Then, once the election is over, most of the elected governments time is spent cooling down expectations. Until this cycle/pattern is stopped, we can really only expect crap from them.

wmmbb - September 8, 2012

7.30 I suppose I am troubled by my being alienated from the institutional and parliamentary process. The task, as I see it, is to step back and understand how this has occurred. Realistically, we have to accept that politicians and special interests, including those that mediate the mass political process do not conform to the standards of democratic citizenship.

Both here and in the US, I perceive a failure of leadership, the courage required to address public policy to pressing problems and issues. Examples include the related issues of housing and, most importantly and urgently, climate change. I think the political situation because ideological blinkedness, or narrow and ultimately stupid and cruel self interest,is far worse in the US, and the global implications and ramifications are more significant.


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