Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Democracy in-action, U.S. versus Ukraine

An interesting sideline to the U.S. national election just concluded, is the Ukraine election which happened at the same time. Both elections ended in a very close vote, with a certain cloudiness to the results. Yet in the U.S. there's no outcry, while in the Ukraine the "loser" refused to take on the "loser" role, and instead declared that he really is the winner, that the election was rigged, and there have been mass protests in the streets since.

Democracy inaction If U.S. officials who are complaining about election fraud in Ukraine applied the same standards in Ohio, then our own presidential election certainly was stolen. By James K. Galbraith; salon.com Nov. 30, 2004

In this salon.com article, Galbraith compares the election results in Ohio with the Ukraine, and thinks the U.S. form of democracy is coming up wanting. I wonder, in 2000, how much of of Al Gore's calculus was being shy of risking a confrontation, risking raising the ire of the people. Would (I'm thinking out loud) the republicrats be afraid they'd lose control of the game if the people were to take to the streets in a massive way as they are in the Ukraine? And what of Kerry's calculus in 2000? One side is that he could simply return to being a Senator, and try again in 2008, while another side is the size of the vote gap that we covered earlier, and the unlikelihood of any recoount overcoming the size of the gap.

It's interesting to ponder "what if" either democratic candidate had been braver. But what about us, the people, of whom this more perfect union is created? Where is our will in this? It is, supposedly, our will which causes the more perfect union that is this country to exist, yes? Why is our will so badly represented by our supposed representatives?

Since that's such a large question, I'll just have to leave that as a question for the reader to ponder.

In the meantime you might find the companion article also interesting: Where democracy refuses to die The media was pro-government. In much of the country, the election machinery was controlled by the ruling party. Voter fraud was rampant. But the people of Ukraine will not surrender. By David Talbot; salon.com Nov. 30, 2004

The Talbot article is an interview of Olena Prytula, editor in chief of Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth).

You know, as Stalin said, it doesn't matter who votes, it's who counts.
In the disputed regions of Ukraine, Yanukovych's people controlled the results counting. Comparitively, in Ohio it was George W Bush's Ohio Campaign manager who was also the Secretary of State and hence in control of the people counting the results. As they say, it doesn't matter who votes, but who does the counting.