Democracy in Action

by Bill Bonner

Democracy! Democracy! Thou art always making the world a better place, aren’t thou?

From Iraq comes more news of democracy in action. The nice thing about the Iraqis is that even though they kill each other, they vote with a single lever. We could never understand why the United States wanted to depose Saddam Hussein in the name of the democracy; he won the last election – like Stalin – with 100% of the electorate. Heck, an honest count probably would have given him 110% of the vote…many people would have voted for him twice if he had asked.

And now cometh the vote on the new constitution…what’s this? It got 99% of the votes cast. It was, “an indication that the Iraqi people are strongly in favor of settling disputes in a peaceful way,” said George W. Bush, the man who invaded the country to set an example. We are impressed. Even Jesus Christ, at a Baptist convention, couldn’t get 99% of the vote.

Iraq is not the only country enjoying wallowing in democracy this week. “Liberia is where it is at,” says a headline in the International Herald Tribune. Eight years ago, Charles Taylor won an election landslide in Liberia with the slogan:“He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I’ll vote for him anyway.”

Immediately, we are stunned by the high-minded of the Liberian populace. In Italy or Iraq, voters might have taken offense at patricide, allowing their civic judgments to be clouded by personal matters. But under the bright African sun, voters were able to pull the lever for what they thought best for their country, not what was best for them.

In office, Charles Taylor started wars with two of his neighbors and kidnapped children to turn them into “gun-toting maniacs.” When he finally fled the capital city, the nation was ruined. There was no money left – nor any electricity; there was no running water, nor any functioning government.

Now, a new crew of political hopefuls is jockeying to replace Taylor, including his wife, Jewel, who says, “We have to forgive and move on.” Also on the ballot, says Helene Cooper, is Prince Johnson, who “sat in a chair drinking Club Beer…while his men hacked – literally hacked [then president Samuel] Doe to pieces,” and General Peanut Butter, aka Adolphus Dolo, whose campaign slogan is:“Let him butter your bread.”

Our favorite is a candidate named George Weah, who makes his pitch directly to citizen’s private interests:“Did he kill your ma? No! Did he kill your pa? No! Vote for George Weah.”

We have never been asked to vote for a politician simply because he didn’t murder our parents. It reminded us of photos of the civil war in Liberia, in which rebels went about their killing wearing white wedding dresses and blond wigs; surely someone in the country has a sense of humor.

Editor’s Note: Bill Bonner is the founder and editor of The Daily Reckoning. He is also the author, with Addison Wiggin, of The Wall Street Journal best seller Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of the 21st Century (John Wiley & Sons).

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