Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Why Bother? 

Why bother with political conventions?  They are exercises in spin and have no value to citizens watching the process.  Everyone knows who the candidate for president and vice president are.  Everyone knows the convention will paint the candidate as the salvation of the republic, and everyone knows the party will savage the opposition.  Everyone knows, so no one bothers to watch.  The ratings for the first night of the Democratic convention were awful -- below summer reruns. 

So why spend millions of dollars to throw one of these throwbacks of communication?  Worse, why do TV networks and hundreds of reporters and bloggers bother to attend and cover the convention?  There isn't any news. 

Don't get me wrong.  There is need for a party meeting on a regular basis where delegates can talk to each other, imbibe a common  spirit and go home motivated to work for their candidate.  But that doesn't mean a party meeting should be inflicted on citizens who don't care for parties.  (The largest voting block in the US are independents who don't claim a party.)

So what should be done for the majority who avoid the sniping of politics and grenade-throwing that passes for debate?  What kind of public relations would work best for us?  I think Howard Dean found an answer before he self-destructed.  He used "meet-ups" successfully -- small gatherings where people could get together and talk.

We need to go back to relationships, to building face-to-face connections between me and you and common wishes and ideals.  The Democrats are trying that in key states like Ohio, and Republicans are not far behind.  It's nothing other than old-fashioned politics that ward-heelers used to practice in machine-controlled cities like Boston and Chicago.  I recall the only time anyone ever visited me and asked how I was doing was in Chicago where the Democratic machine sent someone around to every house in the neighborhood to check our feelings and our votes.  That was decades ago.

It's time to go back to the future.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?