Friday, November 17, 2006

Arianna wants to know: "Do You Think It Harms The Democrats That Nancy Pelosi Backed John Murtha For Majority Leader?"

Dear Arianna,

If Republicans and the media manage to plant that seed in the minds of Americans (thus, laying a foundation for future negative spin campaigns that try to immobilize the Democratic majority by characterizing Pelosi as weak and ineffective), then yes.

But didn't the Democrats win the elections last week, making them the majority in the 110th Congress? You surely can't tell from this week's media coverage. Has it been so long since you were part of a democratic republic that you don't recognize one? Have you forgotten that in a democratic republic, the leader isn't the emperor? Everyone else does get a chance to weigh in and disagree, if they so choose.

Why is the media describing the election in the House for majority leader as "a deep divide within the Democratic party" (146-86), and the vote for minority whip in the Senate (Trent Lott won by one vote over Lamar Alexander) as "just run-of-the-mill politics as usual"?

Why is the media filling up their air and print space with Republicans propaganda (Cspan has been running Republican-only programming all day and now into the night) as if the election didn't happen?

Maybe after elections we could also change the editorial content of media organizations. When the Republicans lose control of Congress, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity lose their programs. It's the public's air waves - I don't know why Conservatives get to monopolize and propagandize the Public's eyes and ears, particularly when they lose elections.

In an authoritarian system such as the one favored by Bush-Cheney and the GOP, "We will decide what's good for you, and tell you about it." Republicans would have been delighted had they never had to report that leadership races were going on at all. Just announce the results, after the fact. "Don't worry your pretty little head."

In a democracy, we think it's a good idea when the people are informed and everybody gets a voice - it leads to good decision-making. It leads to a better educated citizen, a citizen who is knowledgeable as to what the issues are, what's involved and what's at stake. Citizens getting informed and participating is a good thing and leads to all kinds of benefits for the nation and the world. Go figure.

What are the choices after these last six years? A Democratic party that acts like Republicans, in lock-step, where all decisions are determined before the subject is ever brought to the floor? OR, Representatives and Senators who disagree, discussing their considerations and differences, voting and then moving forward to the next issue, not letting hard feelings get in the way of what they were sent by their constituents to Washington to do - represent the people's interests?

What a novel approach to governance. A healthy, democratic, adult business model, where points of view are aired. You win some, you lose some.

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi, a woman who raised five (apparently) bright, happy and successful children before running for public office, has something to teach us. A new parenting model, about how to live and prosper together, at no one else's expense and to the benefit of us all.

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