Thursday, November 08, 2007

It’s Time to Put the Lid Back on the Hamper…

You’re standing in the grocery checkout line, perusing the magazines when the person in front of you points to one of the covers.

“That Angelina Jolie. How can she dare to put her face on the cover of a magazine? Home-wrecker. My husband’s been sleeping with his secretary for six months, and she wouldn’t dare look me in the eye.”

It’s the person in the bank line who’s howling, explaining loudly to teller how their ex spent it all on internet poker, and how consequently, they shouldn’t be charged all those overdraft fees. The child who tells you exactly what mom said to dad last night at the dinner table.

It’s an old adage: never air your dirty laundry out in public. Taken both literally and figuratively, I’m sure we’d all agree. No one wants to see your dirty drawers, and there are just some things that are better left to be discussed in private.

A few months ago, Democratic candidates were in the spotlight. Hillary said this. Barack promised that. Edwards did what? Lately when I hear about Democratic candidates in the news it’s about what they’re not doing: campaigning in Michigan and Florida.

We’re simply not there. Insert your latte-lapping limousine liberal crack here. Democrats come to fill up their coffers but can’t stay to have a conversation. We’re the party of the people, except that we don’t have time to talk with the people, or even wave to them on the way to and from our $1000-a-plate dinners.

My question is this: honestly, do we have to do this now? Yes, the primary system is seriously flawed. We need to figure out a different way of choosing our nominee that doesn’t heavily favor a few small states, many of which are about as racially and ethnically diverse as a box of Q-tips. And although I admire the seriousness with which these states take in choosing the nation’s nominee, the process needs to equally represent everyone. We need a new solution… but can’t it wait until next year?

Being from Michigan, I’m a bit partial to this issue. But beyond my own state, there’s Florida. I mean, Florida. FLORIDA. Are we really going to do this again? Have the last eight years with an overgrown frat boy for president given us amnesia? Fifty states, and the one we choose to pick a fight with is the one that got us into this mess in the first place.

We have practically everything we could ask for: Presidential approval ratings in the doldrums. Three vibrant candidates at the top, all with great, lively campaigns. The Republicans can’t even pull one candidate out of their crotchety old hat that has widespread appeal within their party. A pro-choice, pro-gay rights east-coast mayor? An actor? A Mormon? Come on!

We have everything in our favor, and this is the moment we choose to air our dirty laundry in public. Shame on us! Our country is desperately seeking leadership, and our party is divided, quibbling over calendar dates like little old ladies bickering over whether to play mahjong before or after Wheel of Fortune.

For goodness sakes, can’t we compromise, even if it’s just to get the story off the news? Can’t we agree to follow the rules as they stand for now and make an agreement to fix the system after we’ve gotten these fools out of office?

It doesn’t matter who decides to be the better man: the states postponing their primaries by a mere few weeks or the national party deciding to shrug its shoulders. But someone’s gotta do it. We can’t afford to mess this up again.

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