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I'm originally from the State of Michigan and now reside in the State of Florida. Is it Karma? These two states, I've recently concluded, are at the least, karmic cousins. Both bear the distinction of being peninsulas surrounded by stormy water. In the political arena, both are 'big' states with Electoral College votes that are crucial to gaining entrance to the White House. There is no dispute that both states did, in fact, break the rules established by the DNC as to the primary/caucus calendar. And, both are states where the Democratic voters don't count. That was accepted and understood back in January. Both by the voters and the candidates. Right? No?  

It seems in the current "Change We Can Believe In" campaign, the rules, too, are as subject to change as weather fronts over water. As fast as the results of a primary are calculated into the overall stats, the rules as to how they should be applied change. Are the elected delegates the determining factor as has been the case in our lifetimes? Is it the popular vote of the people? Or the Electoral College map, archaic as that may be? Or does the real punch come from the 'insiders', the smoking guns of the Party, that relatively new rule phenomena known as "Super" delegates? Why their vote is more 'super' than ours, the voting electorate, remains unclear. Perhaps, I shouldn't feel so bad that my vote doesn't count after all. From this perspective, nobody's does! Really.

The numbers game forced by all this confusion takes on a perplexity of its own. Calculations of what numbers are needed and what numbers are still available are formulated in every possible way, again changing on the outcome of each election. I suspect desperation to find the winning formula may bring back the abacus if all others methods fail.  

All things considered though, these continual err... adjustments have served to give the political process, that austere democratic privilege, a bit of a carnival atmosphere. We've had so many Super Tuesdays that Friday is in danger of losing its favorite night of the week status. We've experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat more times than ABC Sports. Preachers screaming from pulpits carry more clout than sought after endorsements. Cable News channels are embroiled in a ratings frenzy as pundits vie to accurately predict the next move while panels of 'experts' analyze the last with more scrutiny than a Warren Commission.

But the big game begins today, Saturday. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will start the hearings to determine which rules to uphold and which to change or ignore. In that mix, they'll also attempt to re-examine which of these committee rules are in full compliance with the Party Charter. Finally, it will be determined, hopefully by nightfall, just what to do with those pesky peninsulas.  

I do commend the stations that are broadcasting these hearings so that the interested citizenry can witness the proceedings first hand without benefit of news spin. It is interesting to hear the various presentations explaining how we came to this point. It is revealing to hear the demands, the reasons for rules to be broken, or not, and the compromises the states and the candidates are willing to make, if any. I have been listening to this dialogue for approaching three hours now and one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me. Democracy as we fondly think of it, a system of government determined by, for, and of the people has become no more than an exercise in strategy.

I believe all responsible citizens, gender, race, and party affiliation aside, are often dismayed at the pace of accomplishment in legislative bodies regardless the level. Listening to the 'session' now going over the airwaves, shines a bright light on this conundrum. Reason has been swept aside by rhetoric. Impassioned and articulate presentations by Florida State Representative Arthenia Joyner and Congressman Robert Wexler have me wondering what has gone wrong in my state of Florida and our Nation. When reason is put forth, it dissolves into reference to volumes of paper and legalese. Lost is the tenet of yes or no, straight talk, and comprehensible verbiage. Every Charter, every bill, every document, proposition and referendum seems to be written with the purpose of confusion that will allow the insertion of interminable debate and implementation of strategy.

Tragic, isn't it, when absolute can't be defined, when credibility is lost in gray surrender and paranoid loyalties. Ultimately, though, there have been some positive trends arising from this controversial primary contest. Voter interest, and most notably, voter registration and participation are alive again. Hope has started to make a dent in the apathy of Main Street. Disillusioned young people are actively involved for the first time in decades. I believe if the electorate strives to be responsibly informed, if transparency in government is demanded, if honesty and integrity are insisted upon, if legislative proposals are intelligible, if clarity in rules and their application are consistent throughout all three branches of government and party affiliations, perhaps true Democracy can still prevail.

Susan Haley


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern & Patty Kovacs wrote Jun 2, 2008
    • “Reason has been swept aside by rhetoric.” What a great line!!
      Susan, today I received an e-mail from a friend depicting the 8 most famous holes in the universe. The first 7 were photos of geographic sites, each clearly labeled by name and location. The 8th one was a photo of George W. with the words: “A—hole” beneath his smirking face! Need I say more?

      Lois W. Stern
      Eye on Beauty columnist
      [Link Removed]

      Eyeonbeauty, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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