close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
September 17, 2011

US democracy

Peshawar

September 17, 2011

Reviewing for the New York Times the new book by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, David Frum asks, “Does America Have a Future”? The backdrop for the question is a combustible mixture of news: more Americans are living in poverty than at any time in the past 50. America has a future, but we are heading in an unrecognisable direction without navigation aids.
I recall an American president, Bill Clinton, speaking at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami in the spring of 1995. Clinton was a fabulous campaigner. Even his adversaries – especially his adversaries – would agree. He looked over the crowd assembled and sang the virtues of place. He said along these lines, “In the future America is going to look more and more like Miami. Diverse and vibrant and filled with hope.” I marvelled from the audience of adoring supporters.
Clinton surely knew that America’s future, in a city like Miami, was also hostage to unreliable elections that could be determined by absentee ballot fraud. And as a student of ward politics, he surely knew, as did then US Senator Bob Graham, that election fraud in Miami Dade was rampant.
The damage to US democracy and way of life didn’t start yesterday. Stealing elections has a hallowed history wrapping up Democrats and Republicans. But all our faults were one thing when the rest of the world seemed incapable of catching the US economy and another when the ease of technology assures that our strengths are being by-passed on a 24/7 basis.
Unfortunately, Americans are stuck on wistful regret for an imaginary past. The narratives are shades of the same colour, depending on political persuasion. It might have been the years of George W Bush, or Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, or Dwight Eisenhower. (Funny, how the years of Jimmy Carter never factor into the illusion. Carter was the only president to dare reach directly to Americans while in the White House, on the immorality of an energy policy based on imported oil and

that response, in large part, propelled Ronald Reagan to the White House.)
But we are so far beyond that now. The damage to American democracy handicaps us severely in the battles to come, like protecting our economy and national security from the impacts of climate change. In a recent report, author Robert Bryce notes, “Over the past decade, US carbon-dioxide emissions fell by 1.7 percent. During that same time period global carbon-dioxide emissions rose by a stunning 28.5 percent... Over the past decade, electricity demand in Asia rose by a whopping 85 percent.” America cannot be a leader in either growth in the new energy sector or in the urgent matter of changing global consumption of fossil fuels while electoral distortions persist.
Frum writes that China went into a deep economic hibernation in the mid 17th century from which it did not emerge for another three and a half centuries. Meanwhile, there is a reason that the top one percent of US wage earners now claim 40 percent of the earnings: this is how squirrels anticipate the long winter to come.
Americans ignore absentee ballot fraud and other distortions of the electoral system at grave peril. It is long past time that elected officials set aside their differences and polarised bases to come together on fixing what ails elections and campaign finance. If corporations – who have the legal rights of people, too – have their self-interest closest to heart, then corporate titans should recognise too the destruction of so much value cannot help but marginalise future opportunities to profit. And since the business of America is business, annual reports of public corporations could well include this warning: fraudulent elections are bad predictors of future results.

Email: [email protected]

Courtesy: www.counterpunch.org

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus