2012 has the potential to be an exciting year for democracy. Presidential elections can inspire hope and change, but mostly they bring out the worst in candidates, scraping bottom for sound bites that might give them a few points in the polls. To date, the Republican party has hosted a staggering 19 debates, which has left moderators grasping to find fresh questions and forcing candidates to repeat the same tired messages over and over again.
Last week, Newt Gingrich went old-school (harking back to cold-war era plans to use space to defeat the Russians) and promised a permanent moon colony by the end of his second term as president. A permanent moon colony! That’s just what we need to pull us out of this economic crisis! Interestingly enough, Gingrich vowed to do this without increasing NASA’s budget, but simply by “transforming the agency’s culture, relying heavily on private industry, and leveraging American ingenuity.” (And pandering to each state in which he stumps.) Not to denigrate the the importance of space exploration, but putting humans on the moon is a highly specialized and expensive endeavor.
In a crucial election year, as many are underemployed, facing rising living costs, and struggling to navigate the so-called economic recovery that we’ve all been promised, the presidential race has become a farce. People now tune in not to hear learn anything new, but to check out the latest train wreck. This theater is our democracy, folks. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Join Illahee on February 1st at 7pm, to hear Christopher Phillips discuss a much more pertinent topic than space exploration:
Does the Constitution work for the 21st century?
Should we reframe our democracy?
If so, how? You decide.