That Villaraigosa Moment Debunking the myth of American democracy

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No one believed the vote on the u201CGod and Jerusalemu201D wording in the Democratic platform was conducted fairly or democratically: a two-thirds vote was required to restore the deleted words and that clearly – and audibly – didn't happen. Neither the audience nor the news media was convinced by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's ruling that the amendment passed. But no matter. As he told the Los Angeles Times, the Mayor has the good opinion of those who really count:

u201CI can tell you this – the president of the United States said, u2018Wow.' The president said, u2018You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly. The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.’u201D

Democracy shemocracy! Who cares when the Supreme Leader claps you on the back and congratulates you for a job well done? In that Villaraigosa moment, the true contours of power in the world's greatest democracy were revealed.

The little people – i.e. the delegates, the voters, and those who have stopped voting for precisely this reason – are irrelevant pawns, to be moved about the chessboard by these giants.

u201CIt was a lot of ado about nothing,u201D said Villaraigosa, misquoting and well as misusing Shakespeare:

u201CWhen reporters told him after the vote that they did not clearly hear two-thirds support, he responded, u2018That's nice to know. I was the chairman and I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.'u201D

This is the face of our political class: arrogant, authoritarian, and on the level of some banana republic south of the border. Welcome to the New America, where leader-worship has taken the place of politics, Team Red and Team Blue battle it out to see who gets to be El Supremo for the next four years, and politics resembles a prolonged soccer game.

At least the Republicans ran their operation with a modicum of formal u201Cdemocracy.u201D It wasn't their fault the bus driver bringing Morton Blackwell, chief opponent of the controversial rules change, to the convention somehow got u201Clost.u201D The Paul delegates were a minority, albeit a vocal and well-organized one, and they got voted down squarely if not fairly.

Villaraigosa didn't bother with such old-fashioned formalities: he simply asserted his u201Cprerogativeu201D and declared the amendment passed. One dictionary defines prerogative as follows:

u201C1. An exclusive right or privilege held by a person or group, especially a hereditary or official right.

u201C2. The exclusive right and power to command, decide, rule, or judge: the principal’s prerogative to suspend a student.

u201C3. A special quality that confers superiority.u201D

His Honor's choice of words reflects the mindset of his class – an increasingly assertive political class which views itself as a justly privileged elite. These paladins of the New Order are brazen because they know they can get away with it:

u201CVillaraigosa noted that any delegate who objected to the process could have made a formal challenge within 10 minutes of the vote. u2018Not one person objected. It's more a media concern than a delegate concern.'u201D

I don't know whether this is true, and I certainly wouldn't take Villaraigosa's word for it. If there are any antiwar Democratic delegates to that convention, who might be in a position to know, please write me – because it's an important point. If indee d no one rose to object and register a formal challenge to the decision of the chair, then what passes for the u201Cleftu201D today is truly as dead as I've long maintained. I'm not talking about the Marxist left, which has too extensive a history to be uprooted even by the fall of the Soviet Union, but the Adlai Stevenson type liberals and the plentiful peaceniks-for-Obama who put the old Bush-is-Hitler antiwar coalition in mothballs when Obama took the oath of office.

As the third vote was taken, with the same audibly fifty-fifty results, Villaraigosa didn't have to worry about what to do: the decision had already been made for him. As Fox News caught on camera, the teleprompter telegraphed the results before the vote was even taken.

As low as my opinion is of the Democratic party, that this happened in America, rather than North Korea, is hard to believe.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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