Every side claims the 'moral high-ground.' This is why you have to be very careful about how loudly you proclaim your self-righteousness. It would be awfully naive to forget that you will find equally self-righteous people on the other side, so you had better have at least some semblance of an argument to back up your position, or a really nice smile.
So we've arrived at today's anecdote...
Recently, in response to terrorist attacks, russian president Vladimir Putin decided to appoint local governors instead of having them elected. There was much irritation in Washington, and they proclaimed, "Bad Putin!" For once I was in agreement with my government, but we were doomed, our reserves of moral authority had long since vanished.
Putin, though perhaps a jerk, is not a jackass, so he invited Mike Wallace to Russia for an interview to air on 60 Minutes during the recent WWII 60th anniversary celebrations. He answered on the matter, ironically in the manner of our own politicians, by not answering the question and implying that it's none of our business...
“There was a time when the regional governors were elected, correct?” asks Wallace.
“Absolutely right,” says Putin.
“And, all of a sudden, Putin says, ‘No, no, no. I shall appoint the governors.’ That’s democracy?” asks Wallace. “That’s not democracy, the way I understand it. Now maybe, I’m just dead wrong.”
“You’re absolutely wrong," says Putin, laughing. "And you know you are. For instance, India is called the largest world democracy. But their governors have always been appointed by the central government, and nobody disputes that India is a large democracy.”
“Why did you change from electing your governors to appointing your governors?” asks Wallace.
“The principle of appointing regional leaders is not a sign of a lack of democracy,” says Putin, who then criticized America’s Electoral College system.
“In the United States, you first elect the electors and then they vote for the presidential candidates. In Russia, the president is elected through the direct vote of the whole population -- that might be even more democratic,” says Putin. “And you have other problems in your elections. Four years ago, your presidential election was decided by the court. But we’re not going to poke our nose into your democratic system because that’s up to the American people.”
Doh! And, yeah, he is fighting terrorism... as an ally of ours, which was his whole excuse for this in the first place. Tangled web eh?
"A hypocrite is in himself both the archer and the mark, in all actions shooting at his own praise or profit." -- Thomas Fuller
:: Damian B. 5/09/2005 [+] ::