Democracy is the new black
Congratulations from the United States of America to all our freedom loving brothers and sisters in Egypt and Yemen and Jordan and Oman and Tunisia and Libya and Iran and Bahrain and Morocco and Algeria and maybe someday soon Saudi Arabia, for standing up to your dictatorial overlords and clutching at the guano covered branches of freedom. Jolly good. You’ve made majority rule fashionable again. Democracy is now the new black.
We are all totally psyched how you’ve dragged yourselves kicking and screaming from the dark ages into the middle 19th Century. You may be excited to hear about some other upgrades we’ve made in areas such as in transportation, communications and hygiene. It’s all there in your orientation packet. Watch some MTV. Ignore Jersey Shore. (No, they’re not real.)
We’ve got to warn you though: self-rule isn’t all a bed of roses. It has a thorny learning curve that rubs tough on beginners. You might want to spend some time wading out towards the deep end wearing your feudal water wings before jumping straight into the parliamentary pool.
For starters, don’t expect the world to change overnight. England has been dancing with democratization since 1265 and they’re still curtseying to the Queen. Usually what happens is you lose one tyrannical despot only to gain another. You could avoid a particular mistake the U.S. made and find someone who can actually spell ‘despot’.
Second, elections are tricky things. Make sure it’s The People deciding the outcome and not nine old folks wearing black robes. Here’s a hint: if anybody gets 95% of the vote, reboot. You might be surprised to find the people most likely to run for political office often turn out to be criminally insane. Maybe you should pass a law restricting that. Kind of wish we had.
Something else to keep in mind: democracy for one means democracy for all. It’s a take it or leave it enterprise. All men are created equal. And women. None of this wife-walking-five-paces-behind-her-husband-while-dressed-as-a-grieving- beekeeper stuff. Same with Sunnis and Shiites. One person, one vote. Hey, we all put our robes on one leg at a time. Or two. Whatever.
All we’re trying to say is good luck with the whole democracy thing. Treat it like a new car, always driving as if 100 eggs are hatching inside of it at all times, because they are. Bring it in for a tune-up every 10,000 miles and don’t forget to change the oil (shouldn’t be a problem). Remember to downshift headed uphill,that it tends to veer to the left on the straightaways and try not to crack it up because who knows, maybe we here in America might want to give it another test drive someday.
San Francisco based political satirist Will Durst writes sometimes. Like this.