Citizens Don’t Let Citizens Watch the RNC

Rana and Harrison
are both feeling somehow obliged to pay attention to the Republican National Convention, or barf trying. Nonsense, I say! There are only three good reasons to watch the RNC:

  1. The Republicans (or protesters) might possibly do or say something that will change your vote.
  2. The Republicans (or protesters) might possibly do or say something that will inspire you to pull out your checkbook and/or get off your ass for the Democrats – or your favored third-party alternative.
  3. You relish the thought of blogging, snarking, playing a drinking game, and/or throwing things at the TV.

Yeah, some people feel compelled to give ’em “equal time”. I don’t know about all y’alls, but I’ve been giving these assholes better than equal time for four years and I still think they’re assholes. At some point, enough becomes more than enough.

To properly honor our civic obligations, then, I propose that the following activities also be given “equal time”:

  1. Learning about the state congressfolk, judges, and county assessors who’ll be taking up all that space on the bottom of the Presidential ballot in November
  2. Volunteering with the local chapter of your favorite political party or lobby group (if you have to force yourself to watch the RNC so you’ll be riled up enough to do this… why not just force yourself to volunteer and save the pain?)
  3. Chatting with a crazy guy on the street corner (he’ll probably appreciate your willingness to listen more than W. will, and his policy towards stem cell research will make just as much sense as W.’s, if not more!)
  4. Stopping to smell the roses
  5. Attending a meeting of the city council, school board, or miscellaneous local government commission
  6. Informing your fellow civic persons about what you learned in items 1-5 with a letter to the editor, or in any case something other than a blog entry.

If our civic obligation to absorb the agenda of the governing party overrides our civic obligation to do any of these things, then civil society sucks and I’m moving to a hermitage in the South Atlantic.


  1. yami wrote:

    And, erm, Rana and Harrison, I don’t mean to imply that you’re failing to do any of these other things… I’m just practicin’ up my exhortations

  2. Harrison wrote:

    Nope, didn’t think you did mean that. Nice set of suggestions.
    I think this will be the first Republican convention that I won’t watch (well, since I was about 13 or so). I’ve always watched just to “know my enemy,” and in hopes that they will say a lot of stupid things, politically (of course they will say stupid things — I just mean things that will hurt them).

  3. Rana wrote:

    No offense taken here, either. Harrison’s reasons are similar to my own — when the to-ing and fro-ing go on later about what was said and not said at the convention, I like to know what was _actually_ said. Partly for curiosity, largely for spin control. Plus I enjoy yelling and throwing socks at the tv.
    But this wasn’t fun — just aggravating in a sickening way. Although now I’m wondering if I should have watched last night — the Bush twins were apparently awful, to an amusing degree.
    As for the suggestions — they are good. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve become too cynical for my own good. My crashpoint was when I was reading some activist alert (I’m on a few lists and will call or write when I feel I can say something of use) and one of the calls was to write Bush about some policy or other. And I looked at that and thought, there is no way he would ever act on anything I have to say, or even listen — so what is the point of that? This, coupled with my ongoing (and relatively recent) scepticism about the inviolability of the voting process, has pushed me into spaces that I would have previously characterized as tin-foil-hattery. It maddens me.

  4. yami wrote:

    I’m in very solid tin foil hat territory with respect to Bush II – that’s why I’ve been trying a little bit to redirect my focus to local politics, where it’s easier to feel like I’m making a difference. I also get a little bit curious at the to-ing and fro-ing, but turning off the radio helps with that.
    As for knowing my enemy – eh. My sociopolitical commentary is invariably brilliant, but it’s not very persuasive. “Hey, you, wanna register to vote and maybe stuff some envelopes?”, on the other hand, requires zero knowledge, and it really works.

  5. Harrison wrote:

    As for local politics — I live in the most liberal (major) city in the U.S. I’ve offered to volunteer for the Kerry. Local politics, though — I think they can do fine without me.

  6. yami wrote:

    Yeah, you’re probably right about that. But “big blue dot” or not, LA politics certainly haven’t earned that kind of trust.

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