Pubdate: Mon, 21 Aug 2000
Date: 08/21/2000
Source: Weekly Standard, The (US)
Author: Jaime Yassif
Authors: Jaime Yassif

When I read Matt Labash's article, "The Other, Stupider Convention"
(Aug.14), I was so overwhelmed by his misrepresentation of the facts,
his obvious bias against anything not apple-pie mainstream, and his
childish characterization of participants in the Shadow Convention
that I began to think I could find a more accurate depiction of the
event from a South Park episode than from his article.  It seems that
before Labash entered the doors of the Annenberg Center, his mind was
so laden with prejudice against the event that, no matter what he saw,
he was bound to report on it with a cynical, snide slant.

I resent that Labash refers to people who advocate change because they
are dissatisfied with the current political climate as "flared-nostril
revolutionar[ies] and bleeding-ulcer moderate[s]." This is exactly the
kind of black-or-white extremism in the American media and politics
that makes reasoned, carefully thought out dialogue impossible.  In
its place we have public officials who do not dare question the status
quo for fear they will be branded bleeding-heart liberals or soft on
crime.  The result is two national conventions, Republican and
Democrat, which Labash himself admits "aren't addressing any issues."

The Shadow Conventions are exactly what we need to help get people
involved in political issues that affect their lives and to overcome
public apathy toward American Politics.  The public is becoming
increasingly disenchanted with the political process as they see the
major parties failing to address issues such as campaign finance
reform, the failing war on drugs, and the increasing disparity in the
distribution of wealth.  Arianna Huffington and the participants in
the Shadow Convention should be applauded for putting together an
event that addresses issues that matter.

Swarthmore, PA