American Culture

The new and improved DNC: now with more beach balls and less gavel

by Djerrid

I admit I was actually looking forward to the dry deliberations and motions to address the finer details of the various policy points.

Ain’t none of that happening here, folks.

That video was taken during the Platform Committee’s report discussing the various points of the platform. As you can see, the delegates, the reporters and I were more enthralled with being at the convention and living it up than addressing what the Democratic Party stands for. I don’t know how well you could see it in the video, but there was a ring of a couple dozen photographers around the Delaware and Florida delegates hitting beach balls around. Fun was had by all.

The only taste of something approaching a deliberative body was when a motion was introduced for the adoption of the platform. (Go to the 6 minute mark of this video.) Nancy Pelosi then asked if there were any discussion of the party platform. Hearing silence, she “called the question” and asked for Ayes and Nays. There was a small smattering of ayes and no one dissented. (I bet the anarchists would be thrilled to hear that.)

This would be especially interesting to my fellow local precinct delegates who debated various policy points to be adapted at our local congressional district. Or to the delegates at the Colorado State Assembly who worked a petition around to adopt a platform plank to seek a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

The final cherry of irony topping this sundae of mutual consent is the professionally produced video displayed on the big screen touting the grassroots creation of this platform. The video showed some of the 1600 listening sessions and 30,000 people who contributed to the platform. It’s something to see all this hard work distilled into background noise for those who are suppose to consider it – and are instead playing Beach Blanket Bingo.

Now, after I just derided myself and everyone else for missing out on the party platform discussion, what did the co-chairs of the Platform Committee actually say? Judith McHale (video, transcript) and Patricia Madrid (video, transcript) were very vague and uplifting in their praise of generic Democratic values. A typical statement:

“In our platform, we pledge that Barack Obama will bring the change we need to renew the American dream with the same new hope and new ideas that propelled FDR towards the New Deal and JFK to the New Frontier.”

I have now been to the congressional district caucus, the state assembly and the national convention and I think I have discovered a pattern: the further up the political power structure we climb, the more consent and cheerleading is involved and the more the messiness of democratic contention is left behind. I wonder if the senates of single-party governments work just like this.

Well, there is no way I can end my post without providing you with a .pdf of the DNC Platform. And there is an amusing article by Bill Curry of the Hartford Courant asking delegates what they know about the party platform.

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