Date Published: 2008-01-10
[Published several years ago but STILL APPLIES]
Dirty Politics? You Must Be Kidding
We've been warned that as primary season moves along, we'll, it's going to get ugly. Get ready for smear campaigns, attack ads â€“ no mercy, no prisoners.
Yes, we're being told, Dirty Politics will rule. (Ooh. I'm so scared.)
Psst: here's a tip. We don't even qualify as amateurs here in America. Take Kenya, please. The whole country is in an uproar because of a dispute as to who won the latest election for the top seat. Hundreds, maybe thousands, have been hacked to death in this tribal bloodbath, villages uprooted, and thousands sent scattering.
That's dirty politics!
Or try Russia, another "democratically elected" dictatorship. Anyone who dares challenge Daddy Dearest Vladimir Putin will likely find himself in some British hospital dying of mysterious food poisoning. The fortunate ones who tempt Vlad the Impaler are merely put in jail. The same goes for Hosni Mubarak who's been "president" of Egypt since 1981 and is now into his fifth term.
Yes, there are elections, and Mubarak usually gets 98% of the vote â€“ or else! (The leftover two percent proves that there's "freedom" for a loyal opposition.) China is no different â€“ and we're only talking about "democracies," never mind the bulk of the world that doesn't even make the pretense. We just saw Dirty Politics in Pakistan. There are no dangling chads in such places, only dangling people.
My goodness, how we differ â€“ and how we fail to appreciate the difference.
Around here, it did get a bit "rough" leading up Iowa and New Hampshire. Ed Rollins, newly appointed to run Mike Huckabee's campaign, threatened to punch Mitt Romney in the teeth. He didn't mean it literally of course, just as President Harry S Truman wasn't really going to knock out the Washington Post music critic who gave Truman's daughter, Margaret, a poor review for her singing.
â€œWe the Peopleâ€ seldom (actually never) go stampeding when we feel we've been wronged or miscounted. We change the subject and watch football. Our politicians seldom (actually never) resort to squads of head-cracking Secret Police when they feel slandered by an opponent. They opt for Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Dennis Miller to even the score.
It is doubtful that there's anything like a Friar's Club Roast in Russia. In those places, when they "roast" someone â€“ that's exactly what they do.
They shoot dissidents, don't they?
In a hundred countries outside the U.S. the powers don't do attack ads against the political opposition. They attack, period. They arrest you or kill you and then come after your assets and your family. Even the dangling chad craziness didn't result in days and nights of broken glass. Not in this country.
This brings us to Richard Nixon. Yes, Richard Nixon.
Our 37th president is still fighting for his reputation even from the grave. Nixon will always be remembered as having resigned in disgrace over Watergate. But then there was this: In the 1960 general election against John. F. Kennedy, Nixon lost by the smallest margin of all time â€“ some 100,000 votes. There were dark (and probably legitimate) rumors of shady doings along some precincts in parts of Illinois and Texas.
Nixon's advisors urged him to demand a recount. Before we get to his response, let's recall that his enemies called him Tricky Dick.
Here's what "Tricky Dick" said about contesting the outcome against JFK: "A presidential recount would require up to half a year during which time the legitimacy of Kennedy's election would be in question. The effect would be devastating to America's foreign relations. I would not subject the country to such a situation."
That is poetry!
About the author: Novelist Jack Engelhardâ€™s international bestseller â€œIndecent Proposalâ€ is now available on Kindle (as well as paperback). The book was translated into more than 22 languages and was turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Engelhardâ€™s thriller on politics, media and culture, â€œThe Bathsheba Deadline,â€ is likewise available on Kindle as well as paperback. Website: www.indecentviews.com
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