Thursday, December 02, 2004

Having the people on our side and not overwhelming them with too much garbage

Shock! Horror! Stop the Fucking Presses! “Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says,” according to the Washington Post. If public schools don’t tell the truth about the horrors of having sexual intercourse, who can we trust? There are some who say that being lied to about sex in school will perfectly prepare children for being lied to about sex in the real world, but they are just base cynics.

Funny AP headline: “Israel Vows Mideast Peace Unless Provoked.”

Westerners seem to have difficulty with supporting democracy in the abstract. Take for example the coverage of the Ukrainian elections. Both pock-marked Mr Y and square-headed Mr Y are bureaucrats, comfortable with the corrupt, cronyistic political culture that has dominated Ukraine’s government since independence. There is no particular evidence that square-headed Mr Y is trying to “install an authoritarian regime like that of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” as the WaPo claims in an editorial. There is no particular evidence that pock-marked Mr Y is the second coming of Thomas Jefferson or even Vaclav Havel. By the same token, the fact that the EU and US have been supporting and funding the supporters of pock-marked Mr Y does not, as several articles in the Guardian have suggested, necessarily taint them. Non-Ukrainians of all stripes have exhibited the same failure as the Bushies, which is to send a clear implicit message that “democracy” is only good when it generates an outcome we like. One result of this is to create magical expectations for elections that will inevitably be crushed. When pock-marked Mr Y turns out not to be the heroic reformer the West has painted him as, but a rather ordinary administrator, how will the people who have stood in the streets waving orange flags in the freezing cold for days feel? Democracy is a quotidian process, it is not confined to the selection every few years of a benevolent, omniscient philosopher-prince.

Speaking of benevolent, omniscient philosopher-princes, Governor Schwarzenegger is thinking about to put his “reform” plans to the voters over the heads of the legislature. Says the beefy Austrian, “We’re going to plan it carefully so we’re going to continue making progress and having the people on our side and not overwhelming them with too much garbage.” Finally, a leader willing to take a stand on not overwhelming us with too much garbage!

Oh, one of those initiatives would involve changing the way reappportionment is done in this state, and rewriting districts early, as in Texas.

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