Chances are you were as shocked and appalled as I was to find out that there were voting irregularities in the recent Russian elections: That is to say, not shocked or appalled in the least.
That Russia is a “democracy” in only the most ludicrous and cynical sense of the word is hardly news.
A fair election would have been news. A rigged, corrupt and stolen election is par for the course. But we’re nothing like that here in the United States, nosireebob, not at all.
I’ve never really understood why people think that a country with three presidential candidates selected by a board of mullahs is more democratic than a country with two candidates chosen by corporate fiat.
While it might sound pretty to tell Junior that anyone can grow up to be president one day, everyone over the age of 13 knows this is a crock. In the United States and most other western countries, leaders are groomed from birth. You go to the right prep school, university and business and / or law school where you learn the right things and make the right connections.
If you go to Harvard or Yale you might be president. The closest Umass is ever going to get to producing a president is Bill Pullman, but whatever, he defeated the aliens and saved the planet.
Every Vote Counts…Or Does It
Another myth we tell kids is that every vote counts. The hell it does.
I first voted in 2000 for the presidential election. Who I voted for is inconsequential. The point is, I lived through one of three elections in the United States where a guy who didn’t get most of the votes took the oath of office.
A certain left-wing political group manufactured badges reading, “George W. Bush: Bastard Child of the Supreme Court.”
I found this particularly illustrative in its own vulgar sort of way. Not only was a president installed by the courts over the will of the people — the SCOTUS decision found that people did not have a right to vote that was guaranteed in the Constitution.
I’m of the mind that this lays the legal framework for an eventual disenfranchisement of the entire population.
The less said about how corrupt city administrations are, the better. Suffice it to say that the days of Boardwalk Empire-style election rigging are far from behind us.
Classified Leaks are Necessary
In Russia, the media is controlled by the state to a large degree. In the United States, the government doesn’t need to control the media — the media censors itself.
Read the New York Times sometime. They confer regularly with high-ranking officials in the military-intelligence apparatus to ensure that all stories meet with Pentagon approval.
The days of the Pentagon Papers are behind us. You won’t find breaking exposes on matters of extreme import in the mainstream, corporate-controlled media. Hence, why we need things like WikiLeaks keeping a watchful eye.
Another common complaint about Russia in the western media is the uncontrolled nature of the police force, and a difficult environment for dissidents. Again, in what way is this different from the United States? It’s hard to see how America, with Gitmo, black sites, NDAA and extreme police brutality against Occupy Wall Street protesters, can point a finger at the Kremlin when it comes to human rights.
For its part, Russia is not currently engaged in a multi-continental elective war of empire under the guise of fighting terrorism.
And you know, all these things bother me, whether they happen in the United States or abroad. The point is not to sink into a complacency regarding human rights violations from election rigging to torture. Rather, it’s to lay bare the idea that the United States — either its government or media — has any moral authority to point fingers at other countries.
The Russian election scandal provides a (get ready to barf) “teachable moment” on the subject. One doesn’t need to believe that Russian elections are any more or less fair than the elections we have here in the United States.
Indeed, the inability to tell the difference is precisely the point.