Elections Matter Elsewhere Too

ACORN International Organizing Voting

Pearl River       In the United States where some are still arguing about the last election, others are trying to fix the next election, and many believe their election is the only thing that matters, it’s worth remembering that lots of elections matter and determine the direction of the world we live in, not just the one at the end of our noses.

            Take Honduras for example, where ACORN works in many cities with organizers based in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.  The right bemoans the immigrants fleeing the country from violence and depravation.  300,000 Hondurans have been arrested at the southern US border in the last 5 years, a loss of about 3% of the Honduran population.  Yet, administrations, both Republican and Democratic, blessed a coup that ejected a democratically elected president a decade ago, dividing the country to this day, while ushering in an administration where the current president is engulfed in scandal and accusations of creating a narco-state.  Is there any accountability in the north for acting as a showrunner for the next edition of the Netflix series, this time Narcos Honduras?  Heck no!

            Meanwhile with the election happening now, there are deep divisions, as some try to hold onto power and others try to bring reform.  The election death count is now 31, up and down the ballot from delegates to local mayors, as well as key supporters.  A majority of the ruling party’s legislature is under investigation or formal charges over bribes and corruption.  For the first time, we interviewed all of the candidates in Tegucigalpa in order to outline our positions.  The elections are dangerous business, but everyone is committed to taking the risk.

            It’s not just Honduras of course.  Brazil’s coming election is another one that matters, this time in the largest country and economy in South America.  Scandals and the Covid nightmare have damaged the incumbent, who Trump-like is already trying to delegitimize the election where many worry that he may try his own coup, although more recently that seems unlikely.  Lula de Silva is now the leading candidate have served two terms previously and a stint in jail, but he still looks like a better option that the incumbent.  High stakes have increased the importance of this election.

            People have died trying to protect elections in Sudan.  Tunisia, the last hope of the Arab Spring, has seen their democracy threatened and hijacked and left with promises.  The show of elections in Russia have featured jailing and poisoning of dissidents.  Candidates who dared run in Uganda are virtually held on house arrest.  Who understands Venezuela or China?  Not long ago, I listened to what was presented as an amusing story by a campaigner for the current Kenyan president who then offered to send him an elephant as a thank you gift.  Meanwhile he is being accused of diverting $10 million now into tax havens.  Elections in Kenya are too often been bloody affairs where the fighting and killing last long after the votes are ostensibly counted.

            Elections matter a great deal locally and globally.  Is it a foolish wish that the United States should stand first for free and fair democratic practice, and then work with the results, rather than being willing to stand aside and look the other way based on some calculation of our own political and economic interest, regardless of the local population?