Monday, February 8, 2010

Wouldn't It be Nice, if Nobody Ever Questioned Election Results?

Remember the American election with the hanging chads and other weirdly improbable stories coming out of Florida? When one comic opined that the state of Florida was going for the 'stupidest state in the union' title?

Or the Minnesota election when lawsuits over the results nearly delayed the decision over who won - until the next election?

Well, it could be worse:
"Sri Lanka election loser Sarath Fonseka arrested"
BBC (February 8, 2010)

"The defeated candidate in Sri Lanka's presidential election, Gen Sarath Fonseka, has been arrested at his office in Colombo.

"Gen Fonseka was defeated by incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa last month by six million votes to four million.

"Gen Fonseka rejected the results and vowed to challenge them in court.

"The initial allegations brought by the government against Gen Fonseka, 59, were put simply as "committing military offences"...."
I'll concede that arresting candidates who threatened to contest the official results is one way to eliminate those pesky legal challenges. On the other hand, I'm not entirely convinced that what seems to be the Sri Lanka model is much better than systems which award the presidency to whoever has the most soldiers in the presidential palace at the moment.

But He's a General! - And Everybody Knows What They're Like!

America is a republic with strong democratic traditions: and I think that form of government works moderately well for us. But I'm not convinced - at all - that this is the only sort of government that can adequately coordinate a nation-state. Or even the sort of entity that America is. I'm not at all convinced that the United States of America is a nation state in the traditional sense of the term. (which is another topic)

I've discussed whether there's a 'best' sort of government before. (Most recently in "Commie Plots, Cholesterol, Frank Burns, Hugo Chavez, and 2012" (November 15, 2009))

I hope that Sarath Fonseka is high-profile enough so that he won't simply disappear: and that he doesn't "commit suicide" while in custody. Perhaps I'm misjudging the bunch that won the election - officially.

Or, perhaps not.

The point is, not all nations are alike. And I think it's reasonable to think that America, where we fuss on talk shows and hire lawyers if we don't like the results of an election, isn't exactly the same as the nations where losers get arrested if they don't gracefully accept the inevitable.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.