I read a couple articles in the paper Sunday about the preparations for the Democratic National Convention. I think they were the most depressing thing I've seen in a newspaper this year. A few of the things that got me down:
The designated protest area is small, dark, cramped, and not even in sight of the convention center. And yet all authorities agree that this is necessary in the "post-Sept. 11 era". WHY? It's ridiculous! What's the mentality here, we'd rather destroy the Constitution ourselves than let any brown people do it? And add to that the irritation I feel whenever people reaction to terrorism with paranoia - it's exactly what they want, you dumbasses, and this type of security precaution could never be enough to stop someone willing to martyr himself without turning the US into a police state. But I guess I should count my blessings here - at least the AP story called a spade a spade. It used the phrases "protest area" and "demonstration area". I swear, I've read stories about people who were trying to protest President Bush. They were forced to do it too far away to see the man, and officials called the spaces "free speech zones". A textbook example of doublespeak. At least the Democrats haven't fallen that far.
I also couldn't help but think about the actual point of a convention. In theory, it's to pick the party's nominee. But Kerry has been the only contender for months now, so what's the real point of this? According to the article, it's "getting the word out". "Kerry and his campaign remain less known than Bush," so this campaign is their chance to fix that. Now, let's think about this for a second. He's been the Democratic party's center of attention since - what, early March? And this is in a year when %49 of people say they're paying a lot of attention to politics, more than ever at this time of year. So either those people aren't really paying attention at all, or Kerry is an extremely boring and/or incompetent candidate. (It occurs to me right now that Kerry and his team were probably planning on this all along, since it is a good time for this stuff, so it must be just that people aren't really paying attention.)
And an entire city is paralyzed for a week for this. A major metropolitan area, one of the leading cities in the country, is crippled because there are so many people and so much security coming for this. (Granted, its traffic and road systems are infamous even in good circumstances, but still.) And what's all the fanfare for? Just to get the word out.
It made me wonder what actual differences between the two major parties are. They both have protest areas and dynastic politics (a Kerry fundraiser was held on Sunday at Senator Ted Kennedy's home) and they're both ruled by partisanship rather than principles. What do they stand for? Republicans stand for the war on terror and in Iraq, Democrats stand for the war on terror and in Iraq - only doing it right. Wow, big difference.
And by coincidence, as I was doing a little research on that previous post about Annie Jacobsen, I happened to find this. The Nader Factor. It made me think. I've got into a fight with someone who plans on voting for Nader, and I still wouldn't do it myself. But really - as that blogger points out, quoting someone else, 2.7 million people voted for Nader, 8 million registered Democrats voted for BUSH, and 85 million voting-age adults did not vote. So why are we attacking Nader voters? Because God forbid they should not toe a party line, not belong to some "reputable" group, have the same values as you but still disagree with you.