Positive Example: Democrats Listen
After the election of 2004, in which Democrats lost the White House by just 3 percent of the vote, many in the establishment of the Democratic Party started an immediate veer towards the right wing, babbling about how the Democrats need to make God the center of their party, and embrace militarism, and gay bashing…
While the Democratic leadership elsewhere was flapping around in a stupid panic, the Minnesota Democrats (more fully known as the Democratic Farmer Labor Party) had a more reasonable response. They opened up a simple, yet powerful, website called Democrats Listen.
Democrats Listen isn’t a web site where the Minnesota Democrats blather on and on and on about why people should listen to them. Rather, the web site offers a 43-point opportunity for rank-and-file Minnesota Democrats to communicate directly with the leadership of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party. See, the point is that the Minnesota Democratic leadership actually does listen, and is interested in what average Democrats have to say about where the party ought to go.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the Republicans’ equivalent web site: Republicanslisten.com. What I found illustrates exactly what’s wrong with the Republican Party, and the Democrats who say that the Democratic Party ought to become more like the Republicans. Republicanslisten.com does not offer any opportunity for anyone, Republican or Democrat, to offer their opinions. Instead, all that Republicanslisten.com has is a cheap piece of PR designed to promote someone mysteriously named “Mr. Jones”. On this web page, Mr. Jones answers questions that didn’t even really come from voters. His PR team seems to have made them up just to give Mr. Jones a chance to talk. And boy, does Mr. Jones talk. Talk, talk, talk.
Nowhere on Republicanslisten.com is there a single link that gives visitors any chance to be listened to. No feedback link. No comments link. No open discussion boards that we could find. Just an enigmatic front page, two “discussions” with no links to any actual discussions, and a login feature that doesn’t give visitors the chance to register to participate in the web site.
“www.republicanslisten.com AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE www.republicanslisten.com WEB SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE”. Here, the Republicanslisten.com web site has the audacity to tell suggest that Republicans listen, but then the web site warns visitors that the information it provides is by no means supposed to be represented as suitable, reliable or accurate.
Even better is the disclaimer:
“The example companies, organizations, products, people and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, person, or event is intended or should be inferred.” Well, I always suspected that Republicans were a bunch of fakes, but here’s the proof!
For me, when it comes to a choice between Republicans and Democrats, the folly of Republicanslisten.com says it all. When Republicans say “Republicans listen”, they apparently mean it as a command: “Republicans, listen!” Of course, much of the Democratic Party has a lot of work to do in becoming more open, but, as the Democrats Listen web site demonstrates, there are plenty in the party who are willing to put forward a genuine effort to include all comers, powerful elites or not.