The Mechanics of Democracy


I did not watch Kerry's speech, but I did listen to it. Thanks to my crashing Palm Pilot, I needed to work on re-entering about an hour's worth of work on the :Trenchcoat Farewell Project:.

Erin watched it, and between the two of us, we may have different takes on it.

One thing I noticed was that Kerry repeated himself dozens of times, returning to the start of the paragraph twice or even three times as he tried to talk over the madly cheering audience. It was a good speech in every other way, but it became easy to predict when Kerry would go back over the text of his speech, and at more than one point I said, "just let them cheer, John!"

Erin, watching the speech, had a different take, for John used hand movements each time he did this, which appeared to gather up the energy of the crowd into his speech. It looked better than it sounded, even though I'd have to say that it sounded darn good.

Although I would say that "help is on the way" is not as strong a catchphrase as "send me".

I also watched on CPAC the state delegations casting their ballots for the nomination. The person at the podium would call each and every state in turn, and a representative from each state would take this opportunity to highlight their state in the best possible political or tourist-related light before announcing how their delegates were voting.

I wasn't there when Ohio's delegation gave the necessary votes to put Kerry "over the top" (i.e. provided the moment where Kerry officially received the majority of the delegates votes), but I was surprised to see Alabama, Alaska and Minnesota give their votes at the very end of the list, and the chairperson thanking them for vacating their spots so that Ohio could receive the honour of putting Kerry "over the top".

I'm a sucker for the mechanics of democracy; I find it all fascinating to watch (as evidenced by my interest in Canada's question period). So, I have to ask my American friends, what was going on here? What's the special honour of putting a candidate "over the top", and what's the significance of the honour going to Ohio?

Also, there were fifty-six delegations at this convention: the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. That's fifty-three... who else attended? Guam? The Federated States of Micronesia? American Samoa?

I was impressed by the Puerto Rico delegation. They had about fifty-five voting delegates, more than both the Dakotas, Alaska, Nevada, and especially Wyoming. The speaker noted Puerto Rico's four million citizens, so when Puerto Rico becomes America's fifty-first state, it will be a significant state, with two senators and at least six congressmen.

Any bets as to when Puerto Rico statehood will happen? Will it occur before or after statehood for the District of Columbia? And do the U.S. Virgin Islands have a chance?

On the :Trenchcoat Farewell Project: front: the revisions to Sentinel are now finished, and it desperately needs proofreading. Matt, if you're reading this, expect an e-mail from me this weekend.

P.S. I've implemented a new comment procedure on this blog. Now, when you comment on this post, you will be required to preview your comment first. This will take you to a screen which will show you your comment and give you the option to post.

This two-step process should be only a minor inconvenience to you (and, as a bonus, it allows you to check and correct your spelling), but it should provide another block to comment spammers. We shall see what we shall see.

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