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Oh when the saints go marching around the French Quarter
January 20, 2005 2:04 PM   Subscribe

While the rest of the country seemed focused on the $40 million dollar block party in Washington, D. C., those of us down in the Big Easy were having a protest the best way we knew how, with a jazz funeral, or more specifically, a jazz funeral for democracy. What else would you expect from a party city that voted 77% for Kerry.
posted by Igor XA (35 comments total)

 
Having been a lurker for several years and only recently becoming a member, I've been waiting to make a worthwhile post for far too long. Hopefully my first attempt is up to par. Also, I've only recently moved to New Orleans, but I love this city, especially after experiencing something like this. I took an extra long lunch hour to catch the parade.
posted by Igor XA at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2005


And the largest voter turnout in 36 years (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10492-2005Jan14.html) somehow constitutes the "death of democracy"?
posted by 1016 at 2:14 PM on January 20, 2005


1016

I think when people bemoan the "death of democracy" and other such sentiments that they are expressing a larger view that Bush's America is one which continually threatens many institutions on which this country was founded (freedom of speech, separation of church and state, abhorrence of preemptive wars, the loosening if not disbanding of public safety nets, excessive amounts of power going to corporations, loss of basic liberties, etc.).

Many are worried that the country is being taken down a path from which there may be no (or only very difficult) return.
posted by Yellowbeard at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2005


Saddam had 99% voter turnout.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2005


What has been stopping them from doing it earlier, why act on it now? Doing it now seems like they need a marked day to remind them.
Today's Democracy seems like “dust in the wind” than a corpse to be buried.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:22 PM on January 20, 2005


you should have been to the rally in jackson square when the parade stopped. the speakers spewed forth all sorts of extreme left wing rhetoric, mostly in response to all the extreme right wing rhetoric that's out there. i left when it turned into a giant religion bashing session. whatever happened to religious tolerance? it was awful. but the jazz was good, and the parade was fun. and i think i got some good pictures of it all.
posted by Igor XA at 2:23 PM on January 20, 2005


Saddam had 99% voter
huh?
the royal sin of omission from this televised reports has been the issue of coercion at the ballots.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:28 PM on January 20, 2005


institutions on which this country was founded ... abhorrence of preemptive wars

The Spanish-American war (1898) wasn't exactly a war of self-protection. It was justified upon the (boiler-related) explosion of the USS Maine, which was pinned on Spain to give a justification for the war.

Nor was the conquering of the Indian frontier - the strategy at the time was to wipe out tribes before they became a threat to settlers. Evne the French and Indian war was a bit pre-emptive.

I'm not saying that preemptory wars are a good idea, but it's hardly new to our republic.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:41 PM on January 20, 2005


I think when people bemoan the "death of democracy" and other such sentiments that they are partisan hacks pissed their party didn't win.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:43 PM on January 20, 2005


was solitaire there? cause i woulda gone.
posted by blendor at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2005


Here are the pics I took on Canal St. during my lunch hour.
posted by djeo at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2005


You quarter-dwellers might be able to march, but my work hours didn't allow it. I can't wait for the coverage.

I'd have liked to go, just because I love a jazz funeral and a block party, but I did have a little problem with the idea: Democracy isn't dead. It's never been put into practice. I for one am glad no one has tried.
posted by honeydew at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2005


I think when people bemoan the "death of democracy" and other such sentiments that they are partisan hacks pissed their party didn't win.

And do you think this based on anything in particular, or just because it makes you feel good to believe so?

Go, Nola!
posted by rushmc at 2:52 PM on January 20, 2005


To most people, as long as we are all electing presidents by standard voting procedures every four years—imperfect as they may sometimes seem—it's still basically a powerful democracy, ie, a people's voice. A flagging "democracy" is not to blame every time your own views clash with those held by the man in charge. Just because your horse doesn't win doesn't mean the whole race is rigged.

Honestly, the "death of democracy" stuff often sounds like a fashionable pose. A marketing tagline like any other-- exaggerated, fluffy, irritating.

Democracy isn't dead. It's never been put into practice. I for one am glad no one has tried.

What is your ideal alternative to free elections?
posted by jenleigh at 2:56 PM on January 20, 2005


jenleigh, I'm not presuming to speak for honeydew, but we do *not* live under a democracy...we live in a republic in which all citizens who have reached majority and are not convicted felons (varies state to state) have the right to participate in elections of representatives who then govern.

Direct democracy would be extremely messy and quite likely to bring about the "tyranny of the majority."

And I totally agree that "just because your horse doesn't win doesn't mean the whole race is rigged." Excellent point.
posted by 1016 at 3:32 PM on January 20, 2005


I think when people bemoan the "death of democracy" and other such sentiments that they are partisan hacks pissed their party didn't win.

As true today as in 1992. (And I don't mean that in a snarky, blinded by the loss, rushmc kinda way either.)

Or, what jenleigh said.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:34 PM on January 20, 2005


I'd agree with Steve and eyeballkid here. "Death of Democracy" is a bit over the top, and reminds me of all the "Clinton with a Soviet sicle for a C" signs/shrits/slogans I used to see and equally roll my eyes at.
posted by mathowie at 4:01 PM on January 20, 2005


i don't know why it's such uncommon knowledge that this is a republic - as i recall, that info is included in the pledge that i was required to make every day of my youth to the symbol of the State.

oh, and since most of my family lives there, i'm allowed to say: i *hate* when people call New Orleans "the big easy." stupid movie, stupid nickname. crecent city or nothing, as far as i'm concerned ;)

posing from seattle, "the emerald city," where kerry got 88% of the vote, if i remember correctly...
posted by blckclbrtn at 4:12 PM on January 20, 2005


...the "tyranny of the majority."

I.e., current Bush administration policy. Screw the 49%, we have a mandate!

Lolis Eric Elie, in yesterday's Times-Picayune, wrote:

"There's a certain hyperbole in the group's decision to call the event a funeral for democracy. If democracy were truly dead, such marches might be banned.

"But Bush's critics note the contradictions embedded in the president's own use of language. Whether it was his declaring 'Mission accomplished,' as the situation in Iraq began to unravel, or his insistence that there could be legitimate elections in Iraq while much of the electorate is too scared to vote, there is a wealth of irony in the president's statements. In so Orwellian a linguistic environment, maybe a funeral for democracy isn't inappropriate. "
posted by chuq at 5:24 PM on January 20, 2005


Look yankees...all the march was today was a bunch of new orleanians marking a mournful event the only way we know how...partying.

No democracy is not dead...or it never existed in the first place...or its hard for a political philosophy to truly "exist"...
Whatever, just shut up and drink...
posted by Pacheco at 5:35 PM on January 20, 2005



I'd agree with Steve and eyeballkid here. "Death of Democracy" is a bit over the top, and reminds me of all the "Clinton with a Soviet sicle for a C" signs/shrits/slogans I used to see and equally roll my eyes at.


As a non-American, I would say your democracy has been dying for fifty years. It probably would have been dead already if not for that brief respite of the progressive movement in the 60s. Since that brief spike it's been all downhill again--the overrunning of government by criminal corporate interests and other special interest groups.

The Clinton shirts are just stupid because Clinton was ridiculously moderate, almost to the point of absurdity (did he ever me a populist position he didn't like?).
posted by The God Complex at 5:37 PM on January 20, 2005


Also, of the places in the U.S. I've yet to visit, New Orleans is up at the top of the list with NYC.
posted by The God Complex at 5:38 PM on January 20, 2005


1016 - Yarr.

No democracy is not dead...or it never existed in the first place...or its hard for a political philosophy to truly "exist"...
Whatever, just shut up and drink...


You've voiced the entire philosophy of New Orleans, Pacheo!
posted by honeydew at 5:42 PM on January 20, 2005


When a majority of the winning candidate's supporters are just plain wrong (that good old PIPA pdf) about what their man stands for, I think you can make a case for our democracy being at least brain-dead.

Which means that, for the next few decades, its vegetative husk will be cunningly manipulated at press conferences and parades by profiteers posing as religious fanatics, making it appear to laypeople to be arguably alive while serving as a non-consenting poster child for a campaign to excise that scientific method from our society once and for all and replace it with a set of contradicting superstitions originally designed to turn simple people afraid of death and the unknown into contagiously supplicant zombie-slaves who, when it comes right down to it, will then buy whatever the fuck they are told to buy. At least that's what usually happens.
posted by ulotrichous at 6:27 PM on January 20, 2005


"Just because your horse doesn't win doesn't mean the whole race is rigged."

I don't particularly want to start yet another argument about this, but a fair number of people genuinely do believe that the last couple of presidential elections in this country were to some degree or another rigged. Whether you agree or not, mourning "the death of democracy" does at least make sense from that perspective.
posted by kyrademon at 6:48 PM on January 20, 2005


I think when people bemoan the "death of democracy" and other such sentiments that they are partisan hacks pissed their party didn't win.

I actually agree, sort of, astonishingly enough. Democracy in America is moribund, sure, but drawing that conclusion as effect where the cause is 'Bush won'? Nah. Too simple.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:49 PM on January 20, 2005


The God Complex, you're welcome to crash on my fold out couch.
posted by Igor XA at 7:49 PM on January 20, 2005


...although 'hack' is just a pejorative, and unnecessary, I'd add.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:50 PM on January 20, 2005



I actually agree, sort of, astonishingly enough. Democracy in America is moribund, sure, but drawing that conclusion as effect where the cause is 'Bush won'? Nah. Too simple.


Definitely. Democracy in America is dead (or dying) for far more insidious reasons; Bush's last two victories are just symptoms of the disease.

The God Complex, you're welcome to crash on my fold out couch.

Thanks. You can be sure if I ever make it down that way, I will attempt to organize the most raucous MeFi meet-up this place has ever seen. We will paint the town blue!
posted by The God Complex at 9:50 PM on January 20, 2005


Bush's last two victories are just symptoms of the disease

Oh yeah? Well that symptom is fucking my country!

*does the wave*
posted by ulotrichous at 10:23 PM on January 20, 2005


To most people, as long as we are all electing presidents by standard voting procedures every four years—imperfect as they may sometimes seem—it's still basically a powerful democracy

Well, those people are—not to put too fine a point on it—ignorant. Real democracy entails a lot more than that.
posted by rushmc at 10:38 PM on January 20, 2005


Democracy in America is like Bernie in "Weekend at Bernie's."
Dead and used as a prop for uncontrolled corporatism.
posted by nofundy at 6:34 AM on January 21, 2005


bernie was a front for corporatism? i had no idea that movie was so deep. i'll have to watch it again.
posted by Igor XA at 7:07 AM on January 21, 2005


i'll warn you, The God Complex, you should probably bring a spare liver. new orleans invented the go cup.
posted by Igor XA at 7:09 AM on January 21, 2005


A correction:
Dead and used as a prop (for uncontrolled corporatism in one case.)

Good catch Igor XA. Made me laugh.
posted by nofundy at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2005


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