A stolen election

(No not Mugabe/Tsvangirai or Kibaki/Odinga or even Bush/Gore)

american-presidents.jpgAs I’ve mentioned before, Christi cannot read a good book in moderation; it’s pretty much an all or nothing affair. Since she still likes to read before bed but doesn’t want to get caught up in a page turner, she’s started reading Whitney’s The American Presidents before bed. (She skipped US history in high school.) Each president gets a fifteen-page chapter, which tries to be fairly objective. A couple of her thoughts:

  • Too bad some of African national fathers didn’t feel the same way as the American founding fathers. “Two terms is plenty. Time for me to move on.” They could have been remembered as heroes rather than dictators.
  • Some real strange men were elected US president. Frequently their most outstanding (popular) characteristic was how many Indians they killed (e.g. Andrew Jackson) or how likely they were to preserve slavery or the systems that oppressed blacks.

She just read about old “Rutherfraud” – Rutherford B. Hayes and his election, which appears to fit the latter category. (Read here – the stolen election – for details of good ole American corruption.)I think “proud” Americans (those who tend to look down their noses at other countries) need to remind themselves that this happened after 100 years of democratic “maturation.” We have a pretty mixed history and need to be balanced and honest about BOTH the good AND the bad. That applies to the present too.

Why does our rhetoric always tend towards the extremes of demonization or over glorification? Why can’t we be satisfied with the raw, messy truth?