Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kucinich Barred from Debate

I have some cognitive dissonance going on here.

I believe that there is no democracy in America, if you believe that democracy entails people governing themselves, whether through elected officials or directly.

We are told that voting is the only way that Americans can participate in the running of our country. But it has been shown that our elected officials do not do what we expected them to do when we voted for them. And now that the voting machines are in, there is no way of even knowing if the politician the most people voted for will be pronounced the winner.

We recently went through two facades of democracy in my small community. One was when they wanted to put in a new WalMart. The community mobilized against it. There were public meetings, and the mayor solemnly considered the public input, and everyone got their say. And the WalMart is almost finished now.

The second was closer to home. A few years ago, against the neighbors wishes, the city spent millions of dollars to widen this small country road. They said it was to reduce traffic, which was absurd, because there is very little traffic on this road. And I wondered at the time why they put sewers, driveways and fire hydrants in the soybean fields along the road.

It all came clear three weeks ago, when the owner of the soybean fields went to the planning commission and the city council for a change in the zoning of his fields to residential, so he could put in some housing projects. The planning commission voted 7-0 against it, because it is in a flood plain.

My neighbors came by to ask me to sign a petition against it, which I did, and to ask me to come to the city hall meeting to speak against it. I had to work, so couldn't go, but I did point out that the fix was clearly in, and the meeting was a sham and a fraud, designed to make the citizens feel as if their voice was heard. She looked at me as if I had said I loved to eat babies. Imagine doubting the power of the people in our democracy!

The zoning change passed and they will pave over the fields.

So what's the cognitive dissonance? Although I believe that the entire election spectacle is a fraud and a sham, when they openly refuse to follow the forms of democracy, when they announce that they are just going to kowtow to the powerful without caring about the appearance, I go from cynical to outraged.

How dare they tell Dennis Kucinich that he cannot debate with the others because he doesn't have the backing of powerful interests? They should pretend that all voices must be heard. They must go through the motions of pretending that the people have a choice. Just dispensing with the charade is too blatant, even for cynical me.

I was just as outraged when Nader wasn't allowed to debate Gore and Bush, and when Rich Whitney wasn't allowed to debate Blagojevich and Topinka in the Illinois governor election. I was outraged when Halliburton got no-bid contracts in the Iraq invasion. Don't they care about the appearance of conflict-of-interest any more?

No, apparently they don't. The looting of the Treasury by insiders continues openly and shamelessly. The dissing of non-corporate-sponsored candidates continues without even the pretense that we will follow the forms of democracy we learned about in civics class (which they dispensed with so long ago that many younger people don't have a clue what has been lost).

And I swing from cynical disgust to outraged disbelief.

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