Saturday, November 27, 2004

Great Article From Eric Blumrich at Bushflash.com

THE UKRAINE TEACHES US A LESSON

Last Sunday, Urkainians went to the polling booths to elect their third post-independence president. On wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the winner. However, Within hours, the election was declared to be riddled with irregularities, and was immediately recognized as suspect, by observers (sound familiar- hmmmn?)

Well- within 24 hours, tens of thousands took to the streets of Kiev, demanding that action be taken. The houses of government were surrounded, and the government ground to a halt. Despite the cold, thousands more camped outside of government offices, effectively shutting them down.

Every day brought new revelations- State-run TV defected from the official government line, and went over to the opposition. The military, called in by the "victor", kept its distance. A divided parliament declared the vote to by invalid, and at this hour, it looks like a new election will be held...

Now- much can be (and has been) written about this whole affair- but here's what gets me:

The Ukraine has only enjoyed nominal independence for 13 years. Before that, they had spent the better part of a century as a client agricultural state of the erstwhile Soviet Union. These folks hand't had a proper election in living memory- but, despite this, when their government is being fraudulently stolen from them- what do they do? Do they just shrug their shoulders, and give up? Do they say "well- they're all corrupt- it doesn't matter which side of the coin gets elected?" Do they just shrink back into the subservient role of the lumpenproletariat that they had become used to, during those long years of soviet domination?

No- they took to the streets, and demanded that justice be done.

Now- if a recently-independent country of 50 million cares enough to take such actions, when a power-hungry cabal tries to perpetuate their grip on government, why can't we?

Think about it- the voting irregularities that have taken place in the Ukraine are similar to, and in some circumstances, were eclipsed in severity by the voting irregularities that happened here, in this country. Washington DC went for Kerry by a margin of the neighborhood of 80%. Why wasn't the white house surroundeed? Why wasn't The Mall in DC filled to overflowing with tens of thousands, as the public squares of Kiev were?

And here's the sad fact:

The Ukrainians were willing to do this- because democracy was new to them- a dream long denied, and dreamt of, for generations. Now that they had it, the people of the Ukraine were DAMNED if they were gonna let it fall from their grasp. They arose from decades of somnolence to declare that no one- no matter how powerful, or corrupt, was going to take this hard-won prize from them. Good on them.

However, again- I must ask- why couldn't we in the United States of America- a country that styles itself the crucible of democracy- take similar action? The answer is a sad one.

We in the United States, to a great extent, have succumbed to a self-satisfied somnolence that makes such action impossible. The vast majority of our citizens turn on our TVs, and are told that everything is fine, that we're the best, the brightest, and that everything is under control. We have taken democracy for granted, for so long, that we no longer think about it, and don't bat an eye, when it is stolen from us- because, after all- if something was wrong- the viewscreen would tell us, right? Don't worry- Big Brother is there, looking after us all- the choco ration has been increased from 10 to 15 grams a week, and the war in Eurasia is within measurable distance of its end.

I wish I could draw a more hopeful conclusion from this- but there it is. At the very least, The Ukrainians have given us here, in the One-Party State of Jesusland, a lesson in what is possible, if we could only bring ourselves to treasure and value what those who came before us fought and died for.

And, the final, sad, irony of all of this, is that Bush has gotten into the act, and has said:

"There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that placed their election, the validity of their elections, in doubt... The international community is watching very carefully. People are paying very close attention to this, and hopefully it will be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government."

I could point out the absurdity of it all, but I'm too busy crying to laugh...

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