Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Party Pooper: Carefully Scripted Democratic Party Convention Is Terrifying

I hate to be a party pooper, but the Democratic Party national convention is terrifying.

Everything is so carefully scripted, every emotion so micromanaged, that I feel I have stepped into a set where 1984 is being filmed. In that book, there are three major regimes. They form coalitions so that two are always at war against the other. Fear appeals keep the populace docile, willing make the age-old bargain with the devil – freedom for security, or the illusion of it.

Every nuance of the convention is leaked to corporate flakkies, euphemistically known as journalists. Tonight, for example, the “vote by acclamation” pronounced by New York State Senator Hillary Clinton, former candidate for the party nod, was known well-advance and hyped by the TV news personalities.

Former president Bill Clinton offered voters the carrot of prosperity. Life was good when he was king, he reminded. Obama’s vice presidential running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, waved the big stick of terrorist threat around for a while. My six years in graduate school studying persuasive strategies persuaded me that it is terrifyingly easy to massage and manipulate the emotions of the mass media audience.

Biden’s large, loving, beaming family was waiting in the wings. He took a cranky toddler grandchild in his arms. The closing credits rolled. The pageantry wound up by 11:57 p.m., in time for commercials and the evening news.

This democracy is brought to you by Microsoft, the auto manufacturers, and the people who sell you poisoned water and food. I’m surprised that the candidates don’t come on stage where sweatshirts plastered with logos, like NASCAR drivers. Maybe that’s next.

1 comment:

Sylvia K said...

You sound like my son! I'll share your post with him. I have to hope, because life for me without it is not living, but I understand that it isn't possible for many to view things from that perspective.