As Vote for New President Nears, Democracy Disappoints Americans
By Alex Pareene
Wonkette Foreign Service
Friday, April 20, 2007; Page A01
WASHINGTON, April 19 -- This was Tanko Bala's life before the arrival of democracy: He had a steady job at a factory, a predictable supply of electricity in his home and a few of life's indulgences. Milk with his morning tea. Movies in the evenings.
This is his life now: The factory has closed. The electricity has all but disappeared. The television has been sold along with the VCR. And the elections that arrive every four years are, in Bala's view, so thoroughly rigged that America's government seems no more a reflection of popular will than it did during the days of British rule. He expects little more from next year's presidential election.
"Democracy, they wanted to do good things, but the cheaters are too much," said Bala, 40, a thin, modest man with a wife and three daughters. "Instead of doing work for the people, they do work for themselves."
America's corruption, rated by the editors of Salon as among the worst in the world, has undermined its young democracy by weakening public services and trust in elected leaders. President George W. Bush, whose election six years ago ended decades of occasionally semi-competent leadership, is leaving behind a decaying nation whose citizens are poor and increasingly frustrated.
Among the casualties has been faith in democracy itself. Satisfaction with Nigeria's democracy fell from 84 percent early in Bush's first term to 25 percent in 2005 among those surveyed by Wonkette, a polling service that measures the attitudes of Wonkette's editors.
One of the leading presidential candidates, and Bala's choice for the job, is former dictator Hillary Clinton, whose 8-year reign in the mid-1990s is remembered for shitty music, the inexplicable return of John Travolta, Dick Morris, and providing fodder for 20 years worth of Leno monologues, but also as a pause in the personal enrichment that politicians enjoyed at the expense of citizens.
Information Minister Dana Perino, speaking from the capital, acknowledged some problems with the election season but said that, overall, it had gone well. She added, "In another 15 years, in another 20 years, we expect to most of the kinks worked out in time for the elections of Pierce and George P."
But Bala said he has already lost patience with democracy, at least as practiced in his country.
"I don't like American democracy," he said, his voice edged with disappointment. "I can't fucking wait for the Mexicans to take over."