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5494: Comparative Voting Systems (fwd)
From: Riwilson <RIWilson@maf.org>
It seems to me that there is little analogy between the voting
problems of Haiti and the United States.
The former is a poorly developed political system with little history
of a commitment to the rule of law either by the government (elected
or not) or its people and parties. All sides seem willing to use
violence, intimidation and outright murder of opponents in the name of
"the people", whatever that term means.
The United States on the other hand has the oldest written form of
government in the world, with no history of violent overthrow by coup
d'etat nor murder and intimidation of political opponents. The few
exceptions to this latter only prove the rule.
The electoral problems of the USA are not out of the ordinary, and are
addressed in the legal system, though it may take awhile. The
commitment to the rule of law and the inviolable sanctity of the
Constitution and Bill of Rights give the government an enduring
stability envied by the majority of other peoples of the world, as
evidenced by the constant voting in favor of it through the use of
legal and illegal immigration to the United States.
Haitian political activists give lip service to their Constitution but
seem willing to compromise, change or ignore it when confronted with
the opportunity to achieve and/or keep political power, and always "in
the name of the people." Dead and mutilated bodies of political
opponents in the streets of the cities and villages of Haiti, as well
as the political Diaspora of Haiti, give mute testimony to this
The call for the "rule of the people" in a democratic vote is a thinly
veiled call for mobocracy in both countries. The Electoral College
was designed to protect the Republic of the United States from the
demagoguery of unscrupulous politicians who would manipulate the
masses for their own purposes. Those who have called for its
destruction over the years are proponents of "populism", a dangerous
political movement. Anyone who understands democracy wants little to
do with it. The best example of democracy in action is a lynch mob;
it is majority rule with only one dissenter--and he is hung. What we
should want is a system where the individual's rights are protected
against the wishes of the majority. The individual may still be hung,
but only after due deliberation of a jury of his peers restricted by
the rule of law.
Both countries are republics. That word says it all. The rule of law
is supreme. That is the ideal. The call for "democracy" in the
United States is a call for the dismantling of the republic; in Haiti
it is a call to ignore any attempt at establishing the rule of law
over the wishes of the "majority."
Democracy was not a term that the founders of the United States used
to describe the form of government they established. Theirs was a
republic modeled after that of the republic that preceded the Roman
Empire. That Haiti uses the term "republic" to describe its form of
government indicates that the original goal was a representative
government of laws, not majority rule where the mob directs the nation
for its own self-aggrandizement.
When one takes the oath of office in the United States it is to
"protect the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and
domestic." You do not take an oath to support the president, a
political party, or a movement. We have lost sight of that in the
United States. Haiti and it's people need to catch that vision and
place loyalty not to any political party, movement, or personal
goals--but to "protect their Constitution against all enemies, both
foreign and domestic." Estblishing the rule of law over everything
and everyone will solve a lot of the problems Haiti faces.