I’m reading about how Cubans are heading to the polls to vote in municipal assembly elections. Sounds OK at first until you realize that the candidates are … effectively pre screened :
Candidates in municipalities across the country are selected by a show of hands by local monitoring groups called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, who are also responsible for reporting suspicious neighborhood activity.
Now THAT’s socialism, Mr and Ms. Tea Partiers. Even though I’m very strongly for an end to the stupid Cuban trade embargo (which mostly just rationalizes Castro’s anti -US rhetorical ranting), I realize what a lousy system Cubans have been saddled with thanks to the shortsighted socialist policies that have plagued that nation since the Castro revolution and Soviet policy direction some 50 years ago.
While here we constantly hear whining from the right about how socialistic the nation is becoming and from the left about how fascistic we are, clear thinkers *around the world* understand that our US system is a robust system. The first thing at any Tea Party rally should be to thank their lucky stars to live in a system that *lets them* treat the president with such contempt and disrespect. I find it shameful, unsettling, and strategically stupid as I did with the anti Bush crowd, but it’s good that we allow the level of free speech required for this.
Our US democracy is flawed in many ways of course – as all systems are – but only if you focus too narrowly on those flaws (as critics do) will you come to the conclusion that America is a bad place. In fact America is a great place filled with great people representing hundreds of countries and different cultures who are able to choose, challenge, and change their government. No better example of this was the election of 2008 where Americans chose an entirely new course for the country. Ironically and problematically we failed to let the winners know that most folks did NOT want the huge government spending and heavy hand that has been invoked by the new congress and to a lesser extent President Obama. But the course of American policy changed – in my opinion for the better except in terms of post-bailout government spending plans which are too big for our britches, especially our military budget which combines a lot of misguided policies with massive extra spending. One wonders at what point those who call themselves “conservatives” started advocating for the massive global military spend, much of which could have been eliminated with more creative foreign policies as the US rose to power as the key global player after WWII.
Cuba does not have the greatest record on human rights (then, neither does the US of A), and I am opposed to the sort of Orwellian “monitoring” you mention. At the same time, I would hesitate to dismiss the cuban “candidate vetting process”, which in a sense allows citizens to pick the best (or hopefully,smartest) candidates to represent them.
When the bolsheviks overthrew the czar, they did a similar thing–a sort of “trial by fire”, whereby the smartest and most capable comrades were put in control of the party–the Duma. It was not just mob rule.
Chess playing was, in fact, one method the bolsheviks used for proving worth (as was engineering/technical skill, mathematics, or scholarship, etc). That sort of proof of intelligence might offend some tea-party types, yet it also prevents populist heroes or wealthy from seizing power. Some type of measurement of worth should be required of American political candidates–at least a college degree …and maybe a few chess matches…eMeg. vs Moonbeam.
Hmmm Chess ..! If it’s speed chess I’m in. Me vs. Obama for the Presidency!
You are raising some good points and I might be hasty here, but I think the challenge in Communist countries is that real dissidents simply cannot rise to change policy. Some argue that’s the case here in US but I do not agree, feeling that the screening out of “fringe” folks represents the will of the people far more than the party hackery, though that plays a role for sure.