Sunday, May 11, 2008

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

No matter what happens now, the 2008 election will probably always be my favorite. Why? Because it's the year in which the distasteful fruits of the founding philosophical seeds of the Democratic Party were made most evident.

Consider this: for the last six months, the Democratic Party has been ripping itself apart over whether Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton should be the party's nominee. The high-profile supporters of each have been going on television shows broadcast all over the world calling each other "idiots", "lunatics", and everything else. Bill Richardson, on "Larry King Live", went so far as to say that the Clinton machine seemed to think its candidate had some sort of "divine right" to the presidency. Clinton diehard James Carville has publicly labeled Richardson a "Judas". As I type this, the Democratic Party is at war.

Yet here is a fact: not one in a hundred supporters of each could muster so much as a guess, let alone an evidenced, definitive answer, as to any major policy difference between Obama and Clinton. And the reason why is that there ARE no major policy differences between them. The Democratic Party has been ripping itself apart over two candidates which, positionally, are almost indistinguishable.

Does this sound insane? A bit, yeah. But underneath the surface, it is actually quite a logical outcome for a party which has always viewed humans more in terms of groups, and their group affiliations and rights and histories, than as individuals with individual rights.

After all, once we commit to thinking of humans primarily, and even ultimately, in terms of groups, we take on the task of finding, and then always keeping in mind, distinguishing group characteristics. And humans not wishing to make more work for themselves than necessary, the most obvious distinguishing group characteristics (call them "DGC"s) tend to wind up as the preferred DGCs. So, for those in this mindset, someone's sex, or race, or sexual orientation, or income level, wind up more important than the content of one's character, or one's personal ethics, or one's ideas and opinions. The more superficial the marker, the more preferable it is. The more meaningless it is, the more loudly the "groupophiles" claim it matters.

Thus, for virtually the whole core of the Democratic Party, it really, really matters whether their candidate is a half-black male or a fully white female. The characteristics below those external markers, like past successes or personal integrity or actual policy positions - things which I would argue are infinitely more important - have been all but forgotten by them. The result is a completely stupid civil war, the consequences of which have probably already guaranteed Republican nominee John McCain the presidency.

1 comment:

markii said...

thanks for this, i've been feeling exactly the same about their "issues" as being pretty much the same as each other's. differences might be found in some things when comparing the two's stances on things- but how much of the rhetoric given by the candidates is going to stick anyways after they're done "selling themselves" (and over promising and under delivering during this sales process) to the US as their new president.

i just hope something can be sorted out of this confusion soon.