After watching the two reality shows known as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, one word comes to mind – scripted. Though the outcome of their respective nominees were already decided, the party bosses nevertheless made sure that any dissent would be squashed like a bug approaching the windshield of a speeding 18-wheeler.
On a voice vote, the Republicans amended their rules for selecting delegates, limiting control on a local and state level while increasing power on a national level. Controversial stuff to be sure, but it was addressed quickly as if it was a vote between turkey or club sandwiches for lunch. The ayes and nays sounded about the same, but the fix was in and the chair automatically announced that the resolution had passed. Of course it passed, because House Speaker John Boehner had the teleprompter words in front of him before the “vote” was even taken. Those pesky cell phone cameras can sure be a pain for a carefully scripted event.
The Republican rules change appears to be designed to weed out “fringe” candidates such as Ron Paul who managed to garner a plurality of delegates in a handful of states because of his grass roots support that worked the local caucuses. Paul and his libertarian philosophy has a significant following inside and outside of the Republican party, but the mute button was essentially placed on his voice. He declined the invitation to speak since it required his words to be vetted by the party. Perhaps Paul should have pulled a Clint Eastwood and said his speech couldn't be edited since he didn't write one.
The Democrats however, were not to be outdone. A last minute addition to the party platform called for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which was paired with a statement affirming the importance of belief in God. It's illogical to group dissimilar propositions for a yes or no response, but maybe it was thought that the platform change for a pro Israel proclamation would easily pass if it appeared you were voting against God. Once again, the voice vote sounded like 50/50. Finally, on the third vote, the DNC Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa used his peculiar math skills and rounded up one half to the required two thirds.
Folks, we have the technology. We don't have to rely on vocal chord amplitude to count votes. In both instances, many of the delegates weren't even in the convention buildings. Mobile devices could easily be used to tabulate votes, adding, if not a paper trail, at least a digital trail that could be verified. Then again, that very well may be a reason to avoid their use if one wants to keep to the script.
The farcical antics at the conventions will not draw much major media attention. The conditioned response is that it is just part of politics. Let's move on to the “important” issues and not get bogged down in petty details like respecting and upholding the democratic process.
The king makers of both parties are patting themselves on the back for doing such a fine job of showing party “unity.” A lot of money and mud slinging will be used in an attempt to convince voters how important of a choice we have in November, but for many of us, it looks like another scripted election.