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Friday, June 12, 2009

Democracy in Action

If our mission as a nation is to spread Democracy, we need to be prepared to accept the officials who are elected in fledgling Democracies. The presidential election in Iran is garnering a lot of American media attention.

Democracy is not an ironclad guarantee that the best person—or who we think is the best person—is going to get elected. We have Adolf Hitler and a couple of our own presidents as proof of that. What is more important than liking whomever the Iranian people elect is taking pleasure from the fact that they are using that process and appear to be as excited about it as we were in November.


VW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VW said...

There is no real democracy in Iran. The Presidential Candidates are selected by the Guardian Council and reformist are pretty much kept out of the mix. They might then be elected, but only after they've passed the council of mullahs and religious judges. It might be an election, but the choices are all cut from the same cloth for the most part.

Hitler was never elected to anything. he ran for President and didn't even come close. Hitler was appointed. His National Socialist Workers Party had a minority in the Reichstag. because of all the political infighting and intrigue, Chancellors, changed out often. They were appointed by the elected president (in this case Hindenburg). Today, the Chancellor is the head of government, but during the Weimar years, the Chancellor was head of the Reichstag or Parliament and the President was head of state. Hitler was a political genius and he was able to get himself appointed to be Chancellor. In 1933, he engineered the Reichstag fire by blaming the Communists. A month later and from there, he was able to solidify his power and when Hindenburg died in 1934, he declared himself to be the f├╝hrer and trashed the Weimar Constitution.

I don't know who else you are talking about, all of our Presidents have been elected and relinquished the office upon defeat or at term expiration.


VW said...

I left out part of a sentence in the first comment


VW said...

So much for that Democracy thing.. Sorry Stephanie. In all seriousness, it would be wonderful if the Iranians had democracy, but the sad truth is that they don't. We wish the did and maybe someday they will.


Stephanie Frieze said...

In the 1932 election, the Nazi Party won 230 seats, not a majority but making it the majority party in the Weimar Republic’s multi-party Reichstag. Hitler was never actually elected, but he did take power legally under the laws of the then-Weimar Republic, which he almost immediately abolished. Until Hitler was appointed Chancellor, the Nazis never held an actual majority in the government and the parliament. Under other social and historical circumstances Hitler might not have been invited in like the vampire he was, but he was invited in.

I am sure that most Americans and a large percent of Iranians are disappointed over the results from their recent election. Vote tampering is not unheard of in any country. Elections in a country with limited experience in it are generally fraught with problems. Previous to the current theocracy Iran “enjoys” their only democratic experience was torpedoed by the United States and the CIA.

The fact remains that while we may not always like the chosen leaders of other countries, it is not our business to be interfering in their government or elections. We needn’t appease them as Britain and the US tried to do with Hitler, but we also ought not to be aggressive.

Lorraine Hart said...

Stephanie...just have to say, the knowledge and grace of your replies always astounds me. Hats off to you! xo

VW said...

Voter fraud is systemic in many of our cities. The Daley Machine, Tammany Hall, you name it. Now we have ACORN registering anything that moves and some things that don't. If it were one or two instances, one might dismiss it as over eager workers. It's happening in almost every city they operate in, one suspects a RICO indictment might be in order.

This last election, several activists were convicted in Ohio for vote fraud.

We've not always done the right thing abroad, but then you could say that about every other first and second world country as well. It's not just one party - The Iranian coup is a good example - started under Truman and finished under Ike.

There is little middle ground with people like Hitler, Stalin, etc. There is such a thing as evil in this world and those two (and a host 0f others) are the faces of it. You can only deal with them in strength. If they sense any weakness, they will exploit it.

We've mishandled North Korea for decades and now, we have a huge problem. The North Koreans only use negotiation and appeasement to get what they want and if they want more, they threaten. Now, they are threatening with Nukes that can possibly hit California and Alaska

If Iran gets a bomb, the mullahs will most likely see it as their God given right to use it. So far, Negotiation hasn't slowed them down. We should have destroyed their facility long ago. Now, we will most likely be reduced to begging.

There is sometimes a need for aggression. We may not like it, but when you are dealing with evil madmen who are out to destroy others, it sometimes becomes necessary. We need to talk if we can, but make sure they see that big gun in our pocket. If they threaten, then we have an obligation to take such measures as necessary to protect our country and our allies.

We all want peace. We are rational people, but there are too many irrational people still left out there and some of them sit on a pile of Nukes.


Stephanie Frieze said...

I agree with a lot of what you say, VW, but I still believe that we ought not to be mucking around in another country's business. We can show strength without engaging in covert operations against governments which we are currently not at war with. Had we not mucked in Iran in 1953 a democracy there would be that much older.

I watched the 1978 Iranian Revolution and have felt for the past 30 years that the Iranian people have it in them to do it again if they decide that's what they want. I believe the last few days have demonstrated a desire to live in a society that is more open and free and I believe that most Iranians want friendly relations with the US. It certainly is fascinating to watch what is happening over there.

And for heaven's sake yes, there's certainly voter fraud in the best of democracies! It is sad that there are unscruplious people in all systems and nations.