January 11, 2004
Election 2004, Part II

"My job, as commander-in-chief, will never be to send our brothers and sisters, our children and grandchildren, to fight in a foreign country without first telling them the truth about why they are fighting." --Howard Dean

Dean, it should be said, is not anti-war. His objection to a particular war in Iraq was specific; he doesn't, for instance, have any problem supporting the occupation of Palestine. It's also important to point out that he's no lefty. He's hardly even a "liberal".. Indeed, he shows every indication of being a standard business Democrat once elected. (He's going to help the rich merely get insanely rich, rather than unbelievably rich. How compelling.)

Hey, what do I expect? Anyone who opposes killing tens of thousands of people for corporate interests in principle is unelectable. And if they're not unelectable, then they will be by the time the pundit army gets through with them.

Despite all this, he apparently is a "really good guy", has a compelling presence, knows how to work a crowd, gives a good speech, has a ridiculous amount of fundraising capacity, and inspires lots of young idealists.

Gee, where do I sign up?

Seriously, though. Gary Wolf and Steven Johnson (and many others) are excited about Dean not because of individual policy positions, but because of the process.

The real action, Wolf says, is at the edges of the network, where people who support Dean even while disagreeing with him on major policies meet together to share ideas, speechify, get riled up, and win people over to Dean's camp.

I don't have any objection to this, save perhaps for my belief that civic participation shouldn't begin and end with a personality cult. Maybe there are people who are meeting and talking to each other about substantial things outside of the guise of fooling themselves into believing that the Democrats stand for something progressive. That's great, but I'm not holding my breath.

On the other hand, I hold out naive hope that the establishment of networks both face-to-face and digital could, at some point, facilitate a sharing of information that is to some degree independent of the corporate media various structures of propaganda-repetition.

For now, though, the vast majority of Americans seem to be impervious to thoughts like "killing 10,000 people is wrong and fundamentally evil in every conceivable scenario. Period."

posted by dru in us