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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRACY - NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART 

Outgoing Governor, Gray Davis, is campaigning against his recall by adopting the "Right Wing Conspiracy" defense; a trope no doubt provided by his current political advisor, Bill Clinton. Clinton was certainly a victim of the Far Right's religous nutbags , but his inability to control his salacious behaviour made him an easy target and the accusations against him triggered psychological defenses that spawned awkward and specious grammatical gamesmanship and ultimately, perjury. Not to mention a whole new way of defining sex that millions of teenagers and adulterers found exceptionally helpful to their cause.

Davis, has been a '"victim" of his own insular world of insider wheeling and dealing, policy for campaign pay-offs, and the protection afforded by incumbency. He has been a political shill for so long that he has no idea that a world exists beyond the protection of sycophants and toadies, lobbyists and well heeled Democrats. Using the 'Republican's are out to get me' cry is about as disengenuous as one can get, unless of course he turns to the camera and remarks, "Do you think all the morons out there bought it?"

The current governor has triumphed by the checks written by special interests and is now dying by his exposure as a paid crony for many of the same organizations that have contributed to the disasterous condition the state is in.

The recall may have started in the offices of the Far Right, but circumstance and the economic and political realities of California life have uncovered dread, fear and anger in the electorate that could not make their voices heard given the choice of Gray Davis or Bill Simon at last fall's ballot box. Seeing those two names induced instant apathy, and as we now see, disgust in a two party system that offered up 'Mr. Mediocrity' or 'Mr. Mediocre' for Governor of the world's fifth largest economy.

If there is a conspiracy afoot, it is the one that exists at the highest levels of both the Democratic and Republican parties where a handful of powerbrokers decides the candidates and then pushes that choice down the reluctant electorate's throat. A voter turnout that ranked 47th in the nation is evidence enough that both parties did their job well. Any Political Scientist will tell you that a small turnout plays into the hands of the respective parties; the party loyalists (those that have the most to gain or lose) will be the ones that show up to the polls.

Proof that Davis is a patient in his own asylum comes in his declaration that the recall would create "lasting damage to ... the very fabric of our democracy." The 'our democracy' he is referring to is the one that keeps political careerists like himself comfortably ensconsed in office while the rest of the republic burns. 'Democracy' as tool of the people to define their leadership is already in tatters and shreds. The fact the people suddenly have a real opportunity to mend it, frightens the establishment (politicians and media alike) not because they fear the mob so much as they fear the decline of their monopoly on power.

True Democracy, a concept never intended by the authors of the Constitution, is being played out in California and it may be ugly, frightening and at times quite laughable. The one thing it is not, is a conspiracy.

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