Democracy Soup

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DNC improperly punished innocent Michigan and Florida voters, and should fix the damage itself

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Originally published on on Wed, 03/05/2008 – 9:51am

Having children requires a certain bit of maturity, so when punishments need to be dealt out, the punishment should be appropriate to the violation. My late father worked as a social worker, and growing up around social workers, I heard enough stories (people’s identities not revealed) of misguided punishments.

Let’s look at two violations and see how the punishment was carried out. Two states decide to move up their primaries, not beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, but beyond South Carolina and Nevada. Let’s call those states Michigan and Florida.

Now one “parent” told the “child” that half of the toys (delegates) would be taken away, but the integrity of the process would remain intact. Let’s call that parent the RNC.

The other “parent” told the “child” that all the toys (delegates) would be taken away AND people caught up in the violation would be severely punished by having their rights (more important that toys) stripped from them. And these people were truly innocent victims. Let’s call that parent the DNC.

Now I don’t have children, but it’s fair to say by looking at those “case studies” that one punishment is much harsher than the other. And having grown up in a household where even though I was the good kid, I was punished more severely and often for things I didn’t do. So I tend to get really uncomfortable about punishments that aren’t fair.

Parents aren’t supposed to punish children in anger; they are supposed to be mature enough to let the punishment fit the “crime.” And if the parent does go too far, they have the responsibility, the requirement, to do something about it, even if it means telling the child they were wrong. A child will learn more about life if a parent owns up to an improper punishment.

It’s scary when the Republicans introduce a process in Florida where every vote counts and the Democrats introduce a process in Florida where no vote counts. Think about that.

Yes, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has stepped up and said let’s do a primary. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm should step up and say so as well. But the ultimate responsibility lies with Howard Dean and the DNC. They are the parents in this relationship.

No one is saying the child shouldn’t be punished. Punish the child, but do so with the required maturity to the situation. Punishing the voters of Michigan and Florida in anger for something they didn’t do is something where parenting classes would be recommended, if not court-ordered.

This isn’t about the delegates. Somehow delegates will get seated, but will they reflect the voters of those two states?

And this isn’t about the candidates. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and their camps should stay completely out of this. If any candidates should be upset, it should be John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel, who would have been on the ballot in Michigan and Florida, but likely won’t be in this “do-over.” In a do-over, those in Michigan and Florida should be able to vote for any of those candidates, not just Clinton and Obama.

This is about the voters of Michigan and Florida and democracy itself. The DNC got us into this mess and should work their tails off to fix this problem. If it comes down to who should pay for the do-overs, the DNC should handle the purse strings as its punishment for getting us into this mess.

Even with a do-over, the bad feelings will linger. But a rectified situation will allow the healing to begin, and hopefully those wounds can be mostly healed by November 2008.

Yes, Michigan and Florida overstepped their bounds. But the punishment was metted out of anger, and draped over into voters, innocent pawns in the game. It takes maturity to step up and say “the punishment was over the line.” The children are listening — are the parents ready to be mature enough for responsible parenting?


Written by democracysoup

March 5, 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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