Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Annoyance of Elections

The current crop of Presidential candidates are annoying, very. They jet around the country with the same abandon you might show walking over to your wastebasket, they talk endlessly, mostly about nothing, they smile and they pose.

Aggravated as we may be, we take it for granted that we will be forced to witness this spectacle for quite some time yet, despite our grumblings. In a few weeks we'll take some time to vote for one of these candidates, and bye and bye, there will be a lot of losers and two winners, both of whom will continue jetting and talking and posing until right after Halloween next year.

I've been contemplating a post on the ennui of all of this, but I must say it's looking all good compared to the election season in Pakistan. Pakistan's plan to have elections seemed to be perking right along despite some serious problems amid a great deal of hopeful news. America's Ambassador, Anne Patterson, has been working on the election issue in Pakistan. When she went to visit Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association president, currently detained under house arrest, and was only able to visit his wife, she noted "I think it certainly casts doubts on the capacity to hold free and fair elections. If candidates are under arrest, it makes it very difficult to hold a campaign.” You think?

Meanwhile, students at what is more-or-less the Pakistan's University of Chicago Business School, LUMS, are being visited by the police, who tell them that they have a list for arrest. There's a government camera man on campus taking pictures, finding ever more suspects among those who have been assembling on a near daily basis to support Democracy. Of course, those photos won't make it to the news here, the pictures are too boring. Nevertheless, how this plays out could be this evening's very troubling news report. Let's hope not.

Geo TV, taken off the air by Pakistan's regime, but pressing on via the Internet, is reporting, "In a major development, the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy and the All Pakistan Democratic Movement has decided to give the government a ‘Charter of Demands’ to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country." That's the coalition led by former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto, who is currently taking a drubbing for her limited abilities in Urdu, and Nawaz Sharif, whose petition to run for office was refused by the government.

The final chapter in Pakistan's election season hasn't been written yet, but this is the first day when I can say I worry. Will the Democracy movement in Pakistan shortly be as missing as the monks of Burma?

Sort of makes you want to sidle over to Rudy's or Hillary's or Mitt's or Barack's current unecological transport of choice, and shout "Fill 'er up!"

Please click here for the lovely picture I chose to head this article. While it's been posted on Flicker, its been made transparent.


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