Monday, September 01, 2008

Perfect Storms and Imperfect Systems

As hurricane Gustav comes ashore this morning somewhere along the Louisiana coast, Republican conventioneers at hotels in the Twin Cities in Minnesota for the most part have nothing to do other than watch Jim Cantore once again stand in the wind and rain and provide updates. Republicans have cancelled most of the day's events, and they stand ready to cancel more throughout the week if necessary based on the severity of the damage inflicted by the hurricane.

While it was necessary for Republicans to take this step given what matters in politics these days, this circumstance serves as a reminder of the bipartisan silliness of a political culture that values symbolism and little else. In a world based on reality, there is no reason to cancel events in Minneapolis based on events in New Orleans, and the notion that going forward with an event planned for months and years risks showing some kind of insensitivity toward people enduring a storm over 1,000 miles away shouldn't be taken seriously.

However, it is taken seriously in the political world that we have, and cynical manipulators in both parties, as well as a segment of the public that fails to think, are to blame. For too much of our political culture, image is everything. The interior is hollow.

As of the time of this writing, it appears that Gustav will not cause the amount of damage that had been feared. Our political system remains a mess.


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