last night the incredibly tight race for the White House inevitably
lead me to recall another close presidential race: the one that took
place in Yugoslavia just over a month ago. The outcome of that election
and events that ensued in Belgrade are generally described as a "Democratic
a "revolution," albeit a quick and mostly peaceful one, because it involved
some aspects of violent behavior, most notably the desecration of the
National Assembly and setting on fire of the state TV station. Otherwise
the revolution was non-violent in an exemplary way: no deaths are attributed
to the "revolutionary" activities (there were only two deaths, both
ruled accidents). Why the revolution is deemed "democratic" is somewhat
less clear. Perhaps the reason is the perception that the anti-democratic
forces of the old regime, primarily Mr. Milosevic and his wife, were
dethroned and new "pro-democracy" forces installed to power.
ponder the puzzling phrase "democratic revolution" let us go back to
last night's close and contested (at least in Florida) US presidential
elections. Imagine that the following should unfold in the next few
days. The count and re-count of the Florida vote drags on and on and
the two parties start accusing each other of improprieties there. This
is not a farfetched scenario, already this morning I heard on the radio
that Democrats in Florida were luring the homeless with free cigarettes
to the polling booths. On the other hand, Democrats complain that in
some county the ballots were "confusingly" printed to have Buchanan
as number 2 so as to cause many who wanted to vote for Gore to pick
accusations are ponderable from both sides. Let us further imagine,
somewhat more fancifully, that Mr. Bush and his party come to the realization
that they are being denied a clear victory by the trickery of the current
resident in the White House and his party. They incite Mr. Bush's supporters
to take it to the streets.
wins wide ranging endorsements from around the world and money starts
poring in from China, Iran, Libya, Russia etc. in support of his bid
for the White House. Hundreds of millions of dollars are channeled in
various clandestine ways, perhaps through Buddhist temples or "independent"
media, to his campaign. With this insane sum of money the Republicans
stage a march on Washington, the mob (using bulldozers donated by China)
demolishes Capitol Hill, and similarly in Atlanta the CNN headquarters
are burned to the ground.
As a result
Mr. Gore decides to concede, Mr. Bush is declared president and sworn
in immediately as Mr. Clinton escapes from the White House and joins
Mr. Gore in hiding. A successful Democratic Revolution is declared worldwide
and the new democracy-loving president of the United States and the
free world is celebrated universally.
this fictitious scenario that will not come to pass deserves to be described
as a "democratic revolution" so do the events in Yugoslavia.