And we're back. Had a great weekend in NYC with Team Polkaroo (long story), then a tragically bad eleven hours with US Airways. I'm no pilot, but I'm pretty sure Boston is not on the way to Buffalo, no matter how close they would be in an alphabetical listing of American cities. Then I get back, open my Google Reader, and the world has gotten slightly more democratic. I mean, I'm sure something horrendous will happen in the next 48 hours to totally invalidate my optimism, but from here things look pretty good.
First up on my democratic awesomeness list: Pervez Musharraf's Muslim League goes down to defeat in Pakistan's parliamentary elections. And Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party is poised to lead a coalition government. This is a good thing. I mean, a military dictatorship? Really? And you say you're a modern nation? The other nice thing about 'representative' government is that it removes a key irritant- autocracy, that is- that helps drive the popularity of extremists. If this new parliament can manufacture some meaningful political change, then maybe Pakistan will settle down. And that's also good, because they have nuclear weapons.
Democraticy goodness the second: Fidel Castro resigns. He's always been a little bit a puzzle to me, mostly because I can't figure out what I really think of him. In the rogue's gallery of dictators, he's probably the closest thing to benevolence you can get. Cuba, as is often pointed out to me, has great health care and literacy levels. And it can't be easy sorting out your country when you have the world's loudest superpower all up in your grill. Still, a dictator is a dictator. If we accept that human freedom is the ultimate goal of any civilization, we're forced to judge Castro as more or less a bad thing. Of course, the power structure he helped create is still in place, so change will be slow. But a little democracy can deliver spectacular benefits. The trick will be to make sure Cuba doesn't get overrun by corporate interests, which is basically what started Castro's revolution in the first place.
So, yeah. Good weekend for democracy, good weekend for New York, and US Airways sucks.
Do you know a lot about governments and politics? Even if you did get a degree from a political science school, decoding the government and democracy is still tricky. If more teachers added current events and politics into their governmental lesson plans, perhaps society would understand politics a little more.