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Distance and the democracy spin

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Alphabetically America and Zimbabwe are about as distant as you can get.  However, if you recast America as USA, then the two countries become alphabetically not so distant.  Interesting to think about the result of this alphabetical spin analogously to practices of democracy.  Eight years of George W. Bush certainly made the world think that the distance is America -Zimbabwe.  With America the bastion of democracy and Zimbabwe the axis of evil.  Of late there is ample evidence that when it comes to practicing democracy to oppose health care reform, the distance is USA-Zimbabwe.

Right now in USA health care reform is all that anyone is talking about.  Supposedly senior citizens oppose health care reform.  But when you dig deeper senior citizens have had the fear of god instilled in them, been told that Obama is not an American, is akin to Adolph Hitler, and that his health care reform strategy is to pull the plug on grandma, to let old people die.  How different is this from playing the race/sovereignty card and spouting that Tsvangirai is a puppet of the West, and if elected, poised to hand over all of the farm land to white people?

The senior citizens are being touted in USA as an organic grassroots movement.  But when you read the fine print these senior citizens have been rounded up by right wing conservative republican think tanks funded by pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry.  How different is this than the fine print of what much of the Zimbabwean War Veterans movement has become?

Town hall meetings have been the sites of senior citizen civil disobedience in USA.  These meeting are intended for peaceful and productive debate about the actual issue of health care reform.   Instead the right wing conservative republican think tanks funded by pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry have given senior citizens written instructions on how to cause raucouses, most notably instruction on how to rattle the speaker and how to prevent different viewpoints from entering the discussions.   How different is this from the role of the securocrats, military junta, CIO, etc. in Zimbabwe?

Last week a young man went to a town hall meeting to support the senior citizens, a town hall meeting where Obama was going to make an appearance.  This young man carried with him in plain sight a gun.  Also, he was standing next to people with signs that called for Obama’s death.  How different is this from arming youth militia and parading them around in shiny new 4X4 vehicles in the streets of Harare and across the country?

One way that Americans involve themselves in the political process is by writing letters to their senators or representatives, as individual citizens or through lobbying/advocacy organizations.  Increasingly surfacing in USA are letters to senators/representatives where pharmaceutical company and insurance industry -hired public relations firms have stolen the identities and letterhead of lobbying/advocacy organizations to submit falsified letters opposing health care reform.  How different is this from what the Herald does or the fact that the voter’s roll for the 2008 elections in Zimbabwe included deceased citizens?

Increasingly USA Democrats are doing the math and realizing that they can pass health care reform without any republicans voting for their bill.  Since I am a democrat and strongly support health care reform this is hard for me to say.  But still.  How different is this emerging USA Democrat strategy from the way the MDC and ZANU-PF fight tooth and nail continuously about every last seat in parliament and the cabinet in order to gain a majority in government?

I wonder.  How different are the practices of democracy in USA and Zimbabwe?  It’s all in how you spin things.  America is after all the Mecca of democracy, the world’s superhero for promoting democratic practices.   Even if USA politicians are engaged in outright transparent examples of lavish political patronage with pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry at the expense of the 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

2 comments to “Distance and the democracy spin”

  1. Comment by N Masha:

    What you forgot to say is that the Zim government at least tried to get land to the masses who were under priviledged in their own country. And that the big businesses that are fighting health reform have also been sponsoring Crisis this and human rights that to advocate and negate the land resettlement programme. I HOPE YOU NOW SEE THE TRUTH!!!!!

  2. Comment by Joseph:

    Susan, you have forgoten to see the true facts happening right now in Zim. Yes, ZANU PF sponsored youths to harrass and disturb the people and every meeting by all MDC Formations. But now we are seeing a different thing alltogether. The ZANU PF and the two MDC Formations have kind of decided to make the weapons of war into tools for development together as a team. Instead of BOB going around demeaning the opposition leaders, he is quiete and happy with the progress on the ground. Yes you may say “BUT…”, remember its not the whole team of ZANU PFs who are against development but only those who were left out with nothing in the Inclussive Government and those who don’t know what they are up to.
    May fair minded belief is that, people are working together in Zimbabwe and with the zeal to see the new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.
    Zimbabweans have burried their weapons, Susan. Zimbabweans are working together to have peace and stability. Zimbabweans have a common GOAL, to see Zimbabwe becoming the PRIDE and PARADISE of AFRICA.
    We may differ the formulas to do this but we have agreed to the common GOAL.
    Mugabe is not even sponsoring youths these days to attack opposition leaders.
    I am also an MDC T sympathyser but have agreed with an open mind to work with my fellow country man (ZANU PF) to have a better ZIMBABWE.

    You were wrong to compare Zimbabwe with the USA. Yes, you have achieved a lot in terms of all developments but remember, Zimbabwe is not seated and just watching clumsily, but is also working torwards achieving what you have achieved.

    I am a proud ZIMBO