Stateside: Inky Dinky, Kiss My Pinky

Published: Mon 31 Jan 2005 03:50 PM
Stateside with Rosalea
Inky Dinky, Kiss My Pinky
I was wrong. It wasn't a harrowing week for news after all. First, Johnny Carson up and shuffled off this mortal coil, so we had lots of comic interludes. Then came the joyous sight of Iraqis all around the world voting absentee in the Castor Oil Election. And finally, the lines of Iraqis in their home country voting for the first time in several decades.
In fact, CBS was so hard-pressed for harrowing news that it resorted to showing images off a website that buys and posts photos from photojournalists in Iraq showing the human cost of the occupation. In the interests of fair and balanced reporting, they also showed images from the official US Army website, which doesn't show pictures of people, just the caches of arms found.
I saw only the local news that airs before the nationally televised talking heads shows this Sunday morning. On the ABC affiliate, their political commentator pointed out that it's a bit rich implying that democracy is a new concept to the Iraqis. The concept of a ruler calling together an "open council" before going to war pre-dates the Greek and Roman concepts of democracy and republic by a couple of thousand years..
And on CBS, the teaser link from the local news anchors to Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation was even more enlightening. The president has, Schieffer asserts, "bet the ranch" on the elections in Iraq going well. Even if they do go well--as they seem to have--the US public is probably only going to give about a six-month grace period for the situation on the ground in Iraq to improve.
If all does not go well, the Republicans seeking re-election in the House and Senate next year will be rushing to _not_ support the president on other unpopular measures, such as the privatization of Social Security, and Bush will be pushing those changes through at the risk of facing a Democratic majority in the House and Senate again in 2007.
It has been a strange week news-wise. On the one hand it's difficult not to be totally blown away (if you'll forgive the wording) by the determination of the Iraqis to vote under the most trying of circumstances. (And it's also difficult not to feel some pride-induced confusion that this was enabled by an outside intervention that I still do not support.)
On the other hand, it's frustrating for anyone interested in electoral reform in the US to have a party-list, proportional-representation electoral system--as is being used in Iraq--described as if it's a poor substitute for US-style democracy. Party lists will be forever equated in the US mind with fear, and remembered as a way of hiding people's identities. And that ain't what it's about.
Anyway, thank God that election is over with. I couldn't have stood another minute's build-up to it. Now that the US has a 52nd state called Iraq, to check and balance its 51st state, Israel, can we all just get on with life again?

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