Palin & the end of pretend democracy

PHOTO: Sarah Palin

If you’re familiar with the arguments made by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, or even Glenn Greenwald, I think you’d be familiar with convincing arguments that the U.S. has ceased being a functional democracy. Our country is ruled largely by a cabal of wealthy businessmen and their puppet politicians. When’s the last time you thought Washington did something significant for your benefit, or common good, as opposed to corporate profit? Can a country truly be called a democracy if its leaders rarely respond to the will of the majority of their constituents?

With that said, we still go through the ritual of elections every two years. Our choices may be limited (ask Ralph Nader or post-1992 Ross Perot), but we still go through the motions of democracy. The candidates are filtered through the corporate-owned two party system and then subjected to scrutiny by the corporate-owned media. It’s a system that at least provides us with the illusion we’re making an informed choice about the direction of our government.

But that illusion is now in danger thanks to John McCain’s campaign. Since picking Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, the McCain camp has taken unprecedented steps to shield Palin from media and public scrutiny, such as it is. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis famously said Palin will only appear on media outlets that give her the proper “deference.” They seem to hope that the public won’t care if they don’t know anything about the person aspiring to be the second most powerful elected leader in the world.

Think about all the clips of Palin’s cringe-inducing interview with Katie Couric going around the internet. Can you name a single question by Couric that was actually tough? She asked Palin what she thought of the proposed bailout, what’s her foreign policy experience concerning Russia, do you read any newspapers, or can you even name one:

Compare that to these questions that a Danish reporter asked President Bush in 2005. Just imagine if Couric or Gibson had confronted Palin with her many demonstrable and unretracted lies. Hell, at this point, can’t we at least get a press conference? One press conference!

Even if you think, as I do, that our democracy is imaginary, you have to worry about McCain’s contempt for basic transparency when it comes to his running mate (Did you know that Palin is now stonewalling the Troopergate investigation contrary to her previous pledge to cooperate?). A vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for less democracy, even if it’s fake, and a more ignorant citizenry. We shouldn’t reward McCain’s embrace of secrecy unless we want to set a bad precedent for future elections.

Flickr photo by NewsHour

6 Comments

  1. Ted

    governor palin….?

    dude.

  2. Chris

    What?

  3. Ted

    I completely agree with “cringe-inducing.” I might even consider “offensive.”

  4. Andrea

    Hey, you’re knocking my girl here! At least I’ve decided what I’m going as for Halloween. I just need to find a moose head and fake shootgun to go with my pumps, suit and updo…

  5. Clint

    I read something that said it’s been maybe 33 days since her selection as VP and she’s done maybe … 5 interviews at most? And no press conferences.

    In the same time period, Biden has done 89.

  6. Chris

    Clint,
    That’s a stunning statistic.

    It’s also interesting that those 89 interviews haven’t generated the combined buzz of Palin’s lone interview with Katie Couric.