Tuesday, September 25, 2018

As Seen on TV: American Democracy

Democrat Sen. John Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon during the 1960 presidential election. (AP)
In honor of this year's upcoming elections, the following is an excerpt from a piece first published on my School Blog for Archinect. Written in mid-2012, we were in the midst of election season, and televised debates were hitting ratings marks never scene before. This piece discusses the public's expectations for candidates and the show they put on for us. 

"It is through the Presidential electoral process that we can read the American ideal of democracy.  It is no secret that every last detail of every campaign is meticulously planned.  It is a system that is designed and, ironically, agreed upon.  While in reality it may have nothing to do with what democracy really is, it is exactly what might makes it all so American.  Nowhere is this more clear than in the televised debates..." 

"The first debate quenches the need for the candidates to be Presidential. The U.S.'s obsession with the Greek “looking” democracy is still very real.  The staging of this debate positions the candidates as Greek thespians in an amphitheater, waxing planned talking points like a script.  This debate simply makes the election official. 
The second debate is to make sure that the candidates are American enough.  The town hall meeting is seen as a historic staple of American democracy."
"The format and form of these shows fulfills the collective prophecy of what an American election should be."