Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Art and Politics Suite, Second Movement

As are most movements of dance suites, this post is in binary form, balanced binary to be exact.

I have been thinking about the elections in Iraq, ever since Donald Rumsfeld stated the likelihood that parts of Iraq will be too dangerous to hold votes in. The Secretary of Defense goes on to say that an imperfect election is better than no election. This is the statement that I have been pondering, whether the disenfranchising of part of a population is better than disenfranchising the whole population. On the ABC Sunday morning show, Madeline Albright pointed out that the main point of an election is to give legitimacy to a government. I would alter this from 'legitimacy' to 'the popular perception of legitimacy,' with the emphasis on the perceptions of the governed population. Right now, the Shiites (both Sadr and Sistani followers) are threatening to boycott the elections. The Sunnis are threatening to boycott the elections. Thus they would not perceive the resultant government as legitimate. The people who live in the parts of Iraq deemed too dangerous, possibly up to one-quarter of the country according to Rumsfeld, would not perceive the resultant government as legitimate. If all of these people do not believe in and respect the Iraqi government after elections, insurgency is guaranteed to continue and increase. If elections are delayed so compromises can be made with boycotting factions and security improved (more soldiers), the perception of legitimacy could be increased significantly. So I don't think Rumsfeld is correct. Partial elections can be more harmful than no elections.

The Indianapolis Star had an article about musicians and politics in the Sunday edition. Yes, they take risks when they speak out about politics, just as business leaders do. The CEO of Viacom (parent company of CBS which just decided to hold off a report on Iraq until after November 2) just endorsed George Bush last Thursday. This is risky, as many people will now question the neutrality of CBS new reporting. If enough people turn to other outlets for news, Viacom's profits will decrease. Likewise, people may stop listening to John Mellencamp because he is performing for "Vote for Change" concerts, but John is willing to take that risk, hoping that his ticket and CD sales aren't hurt too much. Or he figures any negatives are outweighed by the benefits of a different administration.

I plan to view and comment on the first presidential debate Thursday from a forensic viewpoint. Using my experience on the high school debate team, I will score the candidates first on well-delivered points, secondarily on the factual basis for those points. I definitely have my biases, but I hope to create the same type of pros/cons list that I made back in 1984 when rating the Reagan/Mondale debate. That list made me realize I was liberal, though I wasn't able to act upon that realization for another four years. I don't know whether my list will be persuasive to anyone of any ilk, but I hope it will be interesting. Remember to go register to vote, the Indiana deadline is October 4. After all, a partial election isn't as good as a complete election.

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