First Elections, Then Violence.


It has become a rather disturbing tendency probably since the 1990s and the “non-violent” revolutions in Eastern Europe. Now it happened in Zimbabwe – elections, wrong results, violence, and it looks like people are reacting the same way in Iran – elections, confused results, violence. I suppose unless people trust the governmental electoral process, these things are bound to happen. Yet on the other hand, American elections are known to have all sorts of shameful practices of supression, intimidation, misinformation and so on. It seems that even the world’s oldest and healthiest democracy is not really trustworthy. If you look at the rise of extremist violence, or just simple partisan discourse in the US today, even the legitimately elected president has to deal with issues of legitimacy among those who voted against him. And it wasn’t very different during the Bush years either – then it was 2000 “stolen” election, now it is Obama’s mystical birthcertificate and so on. Legitimacy, it seems, is a rather thorny concept…

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