Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A MeanMesa "Quickie" - Elections: Dare We Learn From England?

MeanMesa watched the news this evening (BBC World News, 6:30PM, 28 April 2010, Ch. 5, KNME, Albuquerque) as a magnificent row was presented.  The English Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, after a campaign conversation with the people, had inadvertently left his lapel microphone on as he left in his entourage.

His presumably intimate comment referred to his final, well publicised campaign "photo op" as a conversation with a "bigoted woman."  The gaff was immediately followed by a return trip to the scene of the crime, a heartfelt apology -- conducted in tasteful, British privacy, and, afterwards, a cheeky resumption of his Labor Party's campaign activities.

The precise details of the entire affair are, of course, available on dozens of internet sources for anyone interested.

However, the purpose of this post strays a bit from that single, revealing episode of English civility.  Instead, MeanMesa would like to emphasize some observations of the British election when considered in a larger sense.  A promising point of departure might be to compare the British Parliamentary election to our own most recent effort.

In 2008 the United States saw the final denouement of a multi-billion dollar "slug fest" which had lurched forward for more than a year.  During the campaign, the respective sides of the political debate here had plummeted to even more discouraging depths of divisiveness, misrepresentation and a troubling exposure of the dangerous credulity of the American voter.  

This sorry fact is the predictable result of severe under education,  lack of interest and the formidable abilities of professional manipulators whose efforts are so extremely well lubricated with special interest cash and well controlled corporate media frauds.  Each of these disadvantages "grew legs," given the duration of the campaign's conflict until what might have, otherwise, been generously dispatched as mere political discourse became an unsettling "seed germ" with the capacity to initiate a civil war.

Meanwhile, as our wounded Democracy staggered forward, those most interested in such a deathly, grave repetition of what had happened before dismissed the seriousness of the matter with a troubling, sterile detachment.  The strife, once having been founded so mindlessly, continues to this day, enjoying its own inertia of inflamed suspicions and the unexamined willingness of a bunch of overweight civilians to "theoretically" sponsor such a fray.

That "fray" they are imagining would not, of course, be the actual "fray" of a civil war.  It would be firmly anchored on the prospect of a "civil war" movie.  Anyone who has ever been close enough to such an actual conflict knows far too well that civil war has an unusual odor -- one with a haunting permanence.  Every shell which blows its way through the flesh of another human unavoidably scars both parties, that is, the one hosting the "successful" trigger finger and the violently mutilated mess on the "receiving end."

In most cases, the precise political affiliation of the participants means less and less as the days proceed.

This dismal outcome seems to have been a central ambition of the loudest voices in the campaign.  An equally false bravado marked the incredible charges so routinely vomited out during the contest.  In the end, the American democracy found itself too "exercised" to settle back into its traditional egalitarianism. It remains in this agitated state even now, more than a year later.

Now, MeanMesa has experienced too many decades of our political reality to boldly present some flimsy ideal which might constructively eliminate this unfortunate development.  However, the idea of an American election with a British style "one month" duration emerges as a very attractive alternative,  indeed.

Given the results of our most recent national election, that is, its increase in the dogmatic division of the country rather than its potential to, once ended with a corresponding victory and defeat, reunite us, some exuberant, some  even more determined for the next election, a penetrating question arises.  "Why would we conduct such a thing?"

Worse, why can we not consider any alternative which might bring the process back to some state which we might find more constructive?  The unabashed eagerness of the quiet players in the conference rooms and the executive clubs to gleefully sacrifice the sacred democracy hosting such contests in favor of their personal gain reveals the real nature of "...enemies both foreign and domestic..." some of us have solemnly sworn to repel in the defense of our democracy.

Exaggerated?  That decision will reside with you.

Thanks for visiting MeanMesa.

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