LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Except for the eternal lesson about politicians. Here is a man elected on a platform of mushy love for humanity. And when things get tough, he turns out to have the same compassion for Afghan refugee families stuck in Kabul as his supposedly vicious, uncaring, and inhumane predecessor had for Latin American refugee families stuck on the border with Mexico. There’s only one thing I know for sure about democracy: The essence of a democratic system is not in how we win elections but in how we lose them. Politicians care about themselves. Politicians don’t care about other people. And the other people they don’t care about include you, the voters, as well as Afghans and undocumented immigrants. But we knew that. Is there, however, some other lesson we can learn from our 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan (not to mention from our multidecade – sometimes multigenerational – military involvement around the world)? Unfortunately, yes. I say “unfortunately” because it’s a lesson we refuse to learn...
DEMOCRACY CANNOT BE IMPOSED
Democracy can’t be imposed because democracy is, by definition, a voluntary association of persons. Trying to impose democracy is like trying to impose love, which is a worthless endeavor. At its very worst, trying to impose democracy is like trying to impose sex, a horrible endeavor. There have been times when America’s democratic ideas have turned us into a global Andrew Cuomo. These are harsh words about democracy. But there are harsh words to be said, as well, about love and sex. That doesn’t mean we don’t treasure affection and intimacy. And so do we, rightly, treasure democracy. But love, sex, and majority rule have their proper times and places. We don’t love our children according to their standing in the Gallup Poll. The ballot box is not a dinner date. And the idea of sex with Congress is disgusting. Democracy requires certain necessary preconditions. Thousands of books have been written about those necessary preconditions and to what extent they involve history, religion, economics, sociology, familial structure, custom, and tradition. But apparently nobody has read these books. Everybody is clueless. What makes some countries democratic and others not? How long is a piece of string? There’s only one thing I know for sure about democracy: The essence of a democratic system is not in how we win elections but in how we lose them.
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