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Rules vs Principles

Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. Franklin D. Roosevelt

While there is some refuge in the conservative mantra that we are a nation of laws not of men, you can only take that so far. Rules are not important in and of themselves but for the fairness and equality they represent. Most reasonable beings would refuse to defend a rule that says a black man or women can’t vote, not because its a rule but because it violates our sense of fairness and equality.

The whole notion of you can’t change the rules bypasses history. When Fannie Lou Hamer, stormed Atlantic City in the summer of 64′, justice was not on her side because the “white” Mississippi delegation violated some Democratic Party rule, but because the principles of fairness and equality were violated.

Early in this campaign season we heard the Obamabots tell us again and again, it was the popular vote that mattered. They became obsessed with the notion that HRC may win the nomination with the Super Delegates. Obama used this reasoning to strong arm Hillary’s African American supporters to change their allegiances. We even had Wisconsin columnists and bloggers calling for Tammy Baldwin to change her support to Obama. We really do not hear about that much anymore because it is Hillary not Obama who is leading in the popular vote.

A basic premise of fairness and equality is one person – one vote. The idea that the weight of ones vote would be greater for a white man than a black man violates our sense of fairness and equality. The rules that we keep hearing about institutionalizes a very similar injustice. A vote in one area of the country is weighted much higher than in another. As we can see Hillary Clinton needs to get 1000 more votes per delegate than Obama.

The same basic logic holds true for Michigan and Florida. The enforcement of a rule that is arguably neither fair nor equal does not trump the principle of one person – one vote. No rule should veto the right of the people to have their votes counted. The DNC is doing the exact same thing the Supreme Court did in 2000. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Florida should be seated as the voters decided, period. Michigan on the other hand, even though some Clintonistas will disagree with me, should be seated with the uncommitted votes going to Obama.

We have rules because they embody the principles of fairness and equality that we hold so dear. The fair thing to do in the short run is to count all the votes. In the long run the whole process of weighting the delegates should be examined. If you have a caucus you should not get the same number of delegates as if you had a primary with 100 times the voters.