I’ve been reading about the Pakistani elections today and thinking about how lucky I am to live in America. It’s slightly unusual for me to feel the need to profess my admiration for my home country. (Though certain Bruce Springsteen songs and New England microbrews do tend to bring on bouts of patriotism…) But when I take a break from reading about the election in my country to read about the one in Pakistan, I can’t help but feel a little impressed with American democracy.
In Pakistan polling stations are being fired upon, cars are stopped in the street and stoned, and the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, the husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, threatens to incite riots if he feels that the election is rigged. And while all of this is undoubtedly terrible it is, nonetheless, unsurprising. In many places in the world, democracy just isn’t working.
But here in America it is. The Democrats are embroiled in the closest, most exciting primary in generations. The party is divided almost precisely in half between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It looks entirely possible that the Democrats might go to their convention in August without a clear winner. And while anti-Hillary feelings sometimes run high among Obama supporters and Clinton’s surrogates like to attack Barack, peace prevails. Even if Hillary essentially steals the nomination by seating Michigan and Florida’s delegates, I won’t throw stones at cars with bumper stickers bearing her name. In fact, even in 2000 when George W. Bush actually did steal the election, the United States of America was able to maintain a semblance of unity.
It’s good to have a sense of global perspective while we slog our way through this elongated primary season. It could always be Pakistan.