The World is Watching
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2004, 1:34pm PT  

American democracy is the beacon and light and hope for the rest of the world. While their emerging democracies may not always take the exact form that ours does, central to all of them is --- and must continue to be --- "the expression of the will of the people" via clean and open elections.

Emerging democracies in the world, however, are taking note of the debacle we've had here again. Twice now in a row with our most important election. And with so many countries that we are attempting to push towards delicate democracies at this time, it's more important than ever.

This is the story running today Russia's PRAVDA: "Did Bush fix the elections? - Why did Kerry throw in the towel so soon?"

If we are unable to demonstrate to world an example of how clean, fair and transparent elections must be run, what in God's name gives any of you people the illusion that other countries will do any better? And what of the Moral Authority that we must have to require of them that their elections be clean, fair and transparent?

I don't care which side of the political winds you're on (Bush's, Kerry's or anyone else's), if America doesn't have a national election that we can proudly hold up as a shining beacon of democracy in our own country, we'll hardly be able to demand the same from any country in the rest of the world.

Wake up, America.

UPDATE: For more on all of this from "the Internationals" see this from The International Herald-Tribune as reported by AltWeeklies.com:

[A] group consisting of 92 international election monitors, invited by the State Department, gave a rather dim assessment. The International Herald Tribune reported, The observers said they had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system.

(Thanks Fin for the tip!)

CLARIFICATION: The Pravda article reported above is from Pravda Online - a distinct publication from the old Communist Party-Controlled Pravda Newspaper. Though Pravda Online is published in Russian as well as English, and it's journalists are made up of reporters from the old Pravda Newspaper, I should have made that distinction in my original article. See the comments on this item for more detail. Thanks Raw Story's John Byrne for calling the issue to my attention.