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Bring Democracy Back to the Democratic Party

by JONATHAN M. FELDMAN

Hi Steve,

I am a bit confused by these email messages I keep getting about the Democratic convention.  Could you please clarify them?

First, I heard basically nothing from the administration in terms of direct email contact for a few years. Now, you are going back to the “grassroots”?   A cynical observer would conclude that you just want the voters’ money and votes and didn’t worry about directly igniting the base in the interim.  Please clarify the two to three year gap.

Second, you tell me that: “On the final day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, President Obama will take the stage in the Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, to accept the nomination of the Democratic Party as president with tens of thousands more people by his side.”  I am sorry but I am a bit old-fashioned.

I think that the Democratic Party can’t just give the President its automatic nomination— without the President winning sufficient delegates.  Have I missed something?
Democracy is about getting votes, not about coronations, right?  Isn’t that why
we had the American Revolution?  Is the Democratic Party now bored with democracy
or what?  Sorry to sound rude, but I believe that President Obama is a candidate for a nomination. If you have decided to give him the nomination already, then don’t write me or contact me because you have already left me out of the process.

Third,  you say that you  “asked for [my] ideas on how to make the 2012 Democratic National Convention the most open and accessible in history and your thoughtful
responses made it clear that success depends on people like you being a part of the process.” But if you gave President Obama your nomination already, clearly I am not “a part of the process.”

Fourth, your write me about a suggestion which reads that  “the convention has room for
more than just delegates to attend.”  In other words,  let us be spectators at a live event
rather than spectators on television.  Then you conclude, “ideas like these are reminders  that this convention is about more than political rituals and confetti falling from the rafters.

It is about empowering Americans to be part of the solution and demonstrating  what is best about our democracy.”  I’m very sorry Steve, but that is a total non sequitor.
How do you define “empowerment” and “democracy”?  It seems like you mean
that you are a spectator at a live event rather than one on television.  Frankly,
that is pathetic.  If you really wanted my input, then you would send me an
email about the rumor that President Obama will appoint Larry Summers to the World Bank to serve as President there again.

I would then tell you that Larry Summers is in the pocket of Wall Street bankers and the financial elite, a group that has totally screwed over the American public and robbed them of billions of dollars and now owns several politicians in Congress (well, some think the majority of Congress and the presidency, or at least a big part of it).

Steve, if you want to understand empowerment and democracy, I suggest that President Obama and you start talking about what Thomas Jefferson once said.   I quote now from Jefferson:

“The elementary republics of the wards, the county republics, the state republics, and the republic of the Union, would form a graduation of authorities, standing each on the basis of law,  holding everyone its delegated share of powers, and constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the government.  Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day; when there shall not be a man in the state who will not be a member of some one of its councils, great or small,  he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.”  —Thomas Jefferson, quoted in Richard K. Matthews,The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson, Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 1984: 82-83.

After reading this quote, you will see that the problem is that the Democratic Party has forgotten what small “d” democracy is all about. Please go back to the roots of this country.  Try to figure out how to promote accountability and citizen involvement “every day” as Jefferson says, not just when you want money or votes every four (to two) years.

Sincerely yours,

Jonathan M. Feldman
U.S. Citizen and Voter

Jonathan Michael Feldman is the principal convenor of The Global Teach-In, a trans-Atlantic network of communities that will hold teach-ins on April 25, 2012 to address democracy networks, green jobs and planning, and alternatives to the established financial system: www.globalteachin.com

Jonathan M. Feldman is a founder of the Global Teach-In (www.globalteachin.com) and can be reached at @globalteachin on Twitter.

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