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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Democracy has "New Meaning"

One that I have not known before

I listened to NPR (National Public Radio) this morning as I woke up. The news of the Iraqi election generated quite a bit of excitement. But as I listened to all the usual platitudes about "democracy" and "voter turn-out" I heard one statement, made in passing, that made me sit straight up and take notice. A reporter in Falluja stated that men were voting for women (wives and family members?). This is not allowed by the voting laws, said the reporter, but they're doing it anyway.

My head reels with the implications of this. Not only does the disenfranchisement of women go against any concept of "freedom" or "democracy" but what about any secular or other unfamiliar laws that, however vital for a democracy to exist as such, people do not bother to follow? What if someone somewhere objects to this irregularity? Will that invalidate all the votes from this city? What if it doesn't, what does that say about the trustworthiness of the election? What will the Bush Administration or the Democrats do (if anything)? Will anyone else notice or will this be one little bit of information that someone leaks out in passing in a news report at 6 a.m. and no one else but me a and handful of other people will ever hear or tell about it? Is this what the Bush Administration calls "democracy?" Will I ever be able to type the word "democracy" without quotes around it ever again this century?

Source: The Lexis-Nexis database has a transcript of the news report. Here's a citation:

Copyright 2005 National Public Radio (R)
All Rights Reserved
National Public Radio (NPR)
SHOW: Morning Edition 10:00 AM EST NPR
December 15, 2005 Thursday
LENGTH: 1011 words

HEADLINE: Iraqis head to polls for parliamentary elections



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