Good for the Democracy [updated]
One of the best Directors I ever worked for was at Advanced Micro Devices in the early 90’s, she was constantly on the lookout for ways to improve and invest in the business. “It’s good for the business,” she would intone sternly or happily, whatever the occasion called for, ignoring shortcuts and short-term profit perspectives, always invest in the best solution possible.
As Election 2008 draws to a close I was thinking of her and inwardly thrilled at four recent developments from the election that are good for the Democracy—not good for Democrats or my personal agenda but simply good for the country. In many ways this has been a very long, very ugly campaign, so it’s important to recognize some very good developments for us all in the ordeal.
The first is instant debate polling. I’m chagrined an element of media reform did not come from the marching righteous horde of the internet but nonetheless absolutely thrilled to see our abominable network yapping heads have the media narrative yanked right out their flapping useless lips. One of the most satisfying moments of my political life occurred this year when I read Andrea Mitchell had to shut up on proclaiming McCain the winner of the third debate, she knew the people were soon to speak.
Don’t worry about it, Andrea, hubby Alan Greenspan is surely waiting to cheer you up at home. Heh.
Voting early is a burgeoning phenomena across many states, obliterating the very un-democratic practice of voting on a winter weekday. Furthermore, many states are strangled with voter suppression tactics that are made moot by a large voting window, as opposed to compressed in a 12 hour window. It is with a cold, sick fury that I read of long suppressive lines to vote in Florida, but continued sunlight and exposure to this travesty can only be a good thing, and early voting will ameliorate a significant part of it.
Television journalism, at last, is developing a memory and a haphazard organic public editor visa vi my heroes in the Internet. It’s been noted many times that anti-American slurs against Democratic candidates have forced Republicans to apologize, but that’s only possible because the YouTube clips on the net ruthlessly drove home what they so pathetically tried to deny.
He’s a nigger! Someone yelled out repeatedly at a Sarah Palin rally yesterday, which I never would have seen out of a corporate television journalism shop but I did see repeatedly, as often as I wanted, at Daily Kos. I’ve watched more television in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years, all from posted YouTube clips in web files. The ability to set the video political agenda is spinning out of the control of corporate hands—albeit haphazardly—and we can all rejoice.
Small donor donating through the net isn’t new, but the staggering magnitude of what the Obama campaign has accomplished is. For days I mentally intoned a hundred fifty million, a hundred fifty million with a wondrous feeling like I actually had it myself. There are still problems in the Democratic Party funding apparatus, let’s not fool ourselves, but the march of the little people through the tubes and the ability to crush corporate sums in the opposition is so good for the Democracy I’m still dreamy about it.
The country still has an appalling list of problems to solve, but American Democracy is perking along nicely, battered but vigorously showing signs of vibrant life that can give us all a great deal of hope.
UPDATE: It turns out the woman shouting at the rally was using the word "redistributor," which I didn't even know was a word. In any event, Daily Kos got it wrong but then corrected itself.