Saturday, November 28, 2009

Democracy or something like it.

You've probably noticed that I've stayed far away from talking about the political situation here in Honduras. There's really only two reasons for this: one, my brain's been consumed by the logistics of getting my entire family to a wedding I've still to finish planning, moving out, starting new life, etc. The second reason (and I think maybe it'll explain my selfishness) is that about a month ago I grew completely sick and tired of the whole thing. It all got to a point where everything that either side did just made me clutch my hair in frustration and scream in anger. And I think it's understandable that you can't live like that. It was either push all that back (it's impossible to completely ignore it) as much as possible, or go completely insane at the utter lunacy of it all. So I did the first.

And really, the updates would all have been along these lines: This guy said 'we want elections!'. The other said 'Get Me Back into the Presidency!' and then they stuck their tongues out at each other and continued to play chicken while getting absolutely nowhere. Deals were signed, broken, signed again, complained over, until the Americans intervened and it was all over for Zelaya. All that you really need to know is that the elections are tomorrow and Zelaya's positions weakens as more and more countries decide to recognize the results of tomorrow's vote. And he'll continue to sulk in the Brazilian embassy while the others play lottery with government positions and we end up in exactly the same place we were at before the whole mess started.

I'm being deliberately flippant, of course. There was a lot going on and a lot of ugly things came to light about our political and social systems. But the simple truth is that all this was about a handful of men wanting to take or keep taking more power for themselves. And now we get an election that they pretend will fix everything instead of changing nothing at all. It's disheartening and depressing, but that's politics in this country.

But there are a few good things that could happen tomorrow. first, we could have a legitimate and transparent election for once. I think everyone is terrified to display even the slightest evidence of fraud. There's a lot of outside people watching and keeping these guys on their toes. Of course there's still some distrust on my part but hey, there's always some hope. The second thing I'm hoping for (and perhaps this is more of a pipe dream) is that enough people have become disgusted by the way the two big parties here have been behaving to not give their votes to either. I doubt any of the smaller party candidates will win anything, but what I hope for is that independent candidates will see a huge turnout of voters on their side, and that fewer people will give their votes to the big parties. I don't think this country will ever change until we can erode the power that the two parties have. And even a small increase in votes for third parties will help. And I think it's good that we're having an election at all. Things could've been much worse.

Today, I saw a huge caravan of Liberal Party cars going down the highway. Every now and then someone would toss out handfuls of leaflets into the air from one of the cars.

The entire length of the highway was completely covered in useless, wasteful red and white leaflets. Miles and miles of wasted paper that will go on to pollute more rivers, to clog more sewers that will one day be useless in a big rain. Tons of paper that no one will clean up (or some of it will be cleaned by underpaid city workers) and will just make the city dirtier.

And for what? What a sad, pathetic joke. But hey! democracy, right! yeaaaaaaaah!

1 comment:

Megan said...

There's something really profound about the mental image of pro-democracy leaflets dirtying the streets and making more work for the under-paid (or un-paid) city workers. Can't put my finger on it, but it gives on the shivers, and could make a hell of a photo essay.

Just thinking out loud. It's the jetlag speaking.