Friday, January 30, 2004

I have a confession to make. I am having second thoughts about turning my back on Dean. Well, I suppose that's not exactly right since Dean's still the only campaign I've contributed money to and since I live in California I haven't had the opportunity to make a choice at the ballot box yet. But I've certainly made my thinking known both here and on various other political blogs. I have also said that I am vacillating, and that I am, and I quote, a "fuckin' sheep."

I have to say my heart's still with the Dean campaign. Howard's not perfect, and I have serious doubts that he can beat Bush. But I'm realizing that by voting for him in California in the primary, no real harm is done. In fact, I am coming to the realization that keeping him in the campaign sends a good message, that there is another way. Another way of raising money. Another way of distributing information about your campaign. A way of rejuvenating democracy and participation by including people who lead busy lives by giving them a chance to point and click on their lunch breaks if they so choose.

Two things yesterday contributed to my rethinking. Actually, I should rephrase that. My brain is telling me one thing, and my heart is telling me something else entirely. My BRAIN tells me that this writer (thanks to this blogger) just about has it right. 25% sends a message. As for my heart? Did anyone hear the interview with Joe Trippi on MSNBC after the debates last night? It's not often in politics that you hear a campaign manager get choked up like Trippi did. That was real, human emotion in a "business" that is often quite the opposite. You would think that by citing this I would be angry with Dean. I'm thinking the movement is the most important thing and maybe always has been.

So I'm going to do a lot of hard thinking and try to deconstruct the argument I've been putting forth in the last week or so, that the most important thing is to find a candidate who can outlast the "gotcha" element of the press. I am a pragmatic liberal, but my heart is also telling me, pragmatically, that a vote for Dean in the CA primary is not a wasted vote.

By the way, this is an interesting assessment by Diane Sawyer. As a musician I am immediately drawn to analogy about this. Have you ever heard the term "Board mixes suck?" When you make a live recording, you don't just record off the sound board, because that doesn't take into account what people are actually hearing in the room. The vocals are usually way too loud and, out of context over the loud music, the voice sounds strained. I can't believe I didn't make this connection when I watched that Iowa speech on the news. And it just goes to show how much power this kind of medium has over people. Placed in the hands of those who have a vendetta against a particular individual, it can be a powerful tool indeed.

The question for me is: am I a sheep or a turd in the punch bowl? I'll have to mull this over.

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