I really wanted to stay out of this fight, but alas, I cannot. Ever since Operation Hilarity was proposed, there have been diaries, both for and against this action that have been both poignant and well-thought out. Sadly, not well thought out enough. It has been fun watching the anti-hilarity folks rise up in righteous indignation and clutching their pearls at the thought of hijacking our beloved democracy. The pro-hilarity folks, in response, have spent all of their time scouring the internet for any signs of articles that would justify their position as just and true. It's been fun, but you're both missing the point. Join me on the other side as I explain to you just why all of you are wrong.
From the Merrian-Webster dictionary
democracy: b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.So what exactly does this mean? It means the people ultimately choose. Many of you prefer a closed primary system as a way to keep republicans from any kind of chicanery that we all know they would undertake. After all, they have done it before and they will do it again. As for me, I've never been a fan of the closed primary system. The idea of having to choose a party to participate in my democracy has always bothered me. It's like choosing party over country. In these very partisan times, the closed primary seems the way to go, but let's be honest, whomever wins still has to represent all the people. At least, in theory.
The open primary, however, let's us participate fully in our democracy. The idea, and this is for the anti-hilarity folks, is to choose the best candidates that both parties have to offer. Once those candidates are chosen, we listen to the ideas of both candidates and make an informed decision as to which path the majority would wish to follow. Now, I'll be the first to admit, that we no longer live in a bipartisan society, nor do I truly believe that Americans are even capable of making an informed decision, however, an open primary system allows us the opportunity to choose the two best candidates and hear the policy debate that both parties wish to initiate.
Am I naive enough to believe that people participating in an open primary won't play around with the system? Not at all. I am fully aware of the kind of tricks that can be played in an open primary system. However, to suggest, as some have, that Operation Hilarity abuses the democratic system, well, you'd be wrong. The intent may be inappropriate and the action may not be to your liking, but it isn't an abuse to democracy. Free and open elections can be messy and everyone votes in a manner that meets their personal best interests. Whatever those may be.
Now for you folks on the pro-hilarity side, you're making all the wrong arguments. Your position doesn't really need to be defended by running around and saying, "these guys say it's okay, so get over it." Your position is actually the easier to defend. You actually are making a pro-democracy statement even though you have a desired outcome in mind. Of course, some may just be offended that you would brazenly announce your intentions on the front page.
So, for those of you who live in open primary states who choose to participate in the GOP pie fight, rest assured, only you can determine what your motives are. If you, like Lawrence O'Donnell, wish to hear a true debate between the liberal-light ideas of Barack Obama and the true conservative ideas of Rick Santorum, pull the lever for Santorum and let's have that debate. If you'd like the debate to focus on why the 1% should be valued more in our society, pull the lever for Mitt Romney and let's have that debate. Whether you choose to stay home or not is irrelevant. Either way you're living up to the ideas and principles you hold dear, but in this pie fight, both sides are wrong.