Sunday, December 30, 2007

That For Which I Am Thankful

The TOA family is back at home after some holiday traveling and I find myself sitting at the keyboard in a reflective mood as I compose a final post for 2007.

As I read the news headlines, I cannot help but think how fortunate we are in this country to experience a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another according to established and accepted procedures. Yes, we argue about candidates and policies, passionately so, but in the end we do not take to the streets to overthrow the government by force or jail those with whom we disagree.

In many parts of the world, and for pretty much all of history, such lawful and bloodless political succession is all but unknown. Some contemporary examples come to mind: in Russia, consider how Vladimir Putin is poised to retain power, regardless of the specific office he may inhabit; in Venezuela, consider how Hugo Chavez tried to rewrite that country’s constitution so as to remain president for life (and do not think that he has given up), in Pakistan, consider how Benazir Bhutto was assassinated; in Zimbabwe, consider how Robert Mugabe has all but outlawed political opposition; in Gaza, consider how Hamas and Fatah regularly engage in armed conflict (and they are ostensibly on the same side); in Cuba, consider how Fidel Castro simply installed his brother Raoul as leader.

Of course, all is not lost. Democratic principles and the rule of law have made great strides in eastern Europe over the past decade and a half. I fear, though, that we in the United States have lost sight of just how unique our political system is and, despite its many flaws, how thankful we should be for it.

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

EHT said...

I agree totally. I also thought about this as I heard the news about the assassination in Pakistan and later the unrest in Kenya. This is something I try to teach my fourth grade history students regarding the uniqueness of our country and a few others regarding a change in power.

While we don't have unrest and murder due to election results I am still concerned with the growing violence through language that I see in our dialogue about politics and various issues. Many feel sarcasm, cruelty, and so called humor are the routes to go when discussing hot button issues. Simply because people can they poke fun at people on the other side of the issue and often don't even attempt to stick to the real issues at hand. I often wonder how this will effect our children and the world they live in during the years to come.