Monday, July 19, 2004

Summer Lovin'  (or: My Congressperson went to the National Convention and All I Got was a Little Less Say in Running my Country)
Well, the main political parties are all set to have themselves a blast at their conventions this summer.  The tab?  A whopping $170 million.  
Don't you go worryin' about those poor politicians finding a way to pay for their extravagance, though.  As Mike Madden reports in USA Today, some of your friendly neighborhood corporations are stepping up to the plate to exercise their civic duty.  Millions of corporate dollars are flowing unchecked into the host committees in Boston and New York in their efforts to throw the biggest baddest Americanest party EVER!  
Each party's ticket has already been decided.  In the months running up to the election, perhaps the public interest would be better reflected in a series of substantive debates between the contenders for the highest office in the land.  $170 million bucks could go a long way towards airing a few more debates, issuing voter guides, or ensuring that America's vote is accurately recorded.  Makes you kinda wonder why the corporations don't choose to exercise their civic duty that way.
Celebrating our democracy is great, but throwing an $80 million dollar party for a tiny fraction of the people the parties are vying to represent seems to be a celebration of the exact opposite.  The powerful, the wealthy, and the insiders attend parties and ball games and rub elbows over lobster-tails and champagne, and no doubt rejoice in the good fortune which placed them there, all the while the rest of us scratch our heads and wonder what the hell happened to our democracy.

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