Joel Mowbray

With all the attention focused on Alan Keyes crashing an election where he doesn?t belong, comparably little has been paid to a potentially far more troubling election participant: international monitors ?observing? our November elections.

In a news story that could not have been better crafted by The Onion, the Bush administration has formally invited the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), of which the U.S. is a member, to observe this fall?s election.

Though the OSCE delegation has no authority to do anything substantive, the very idea that international monitors have any business being in the U.S. is insulting.  Any organization comprised of member nations such as France and Germany who saw no evil in Saddam?s tyranny and continue turning a blind eye to Arafat?s iron fist clearly lacks the moral compass to pass judgment on any nation, let alone the United States.

Is the U.S. system perfect?  No.  But is it the best in the world?  No question. 

Nowhere in the world do voters have as much information at their fingertips: four all-news cable outlets, three broadcast network newscasts, three or more local news telecasts, one or more local talk radio stations, local and national newspapers, hundreds of magazines, thousands of web sites and web logs, and countless knuckleheads (including this one) ready to share their opinions with anyone who will listen.

That?s real democracy.  Casting ballots is merely the capstone to freedom.  We don?t need international monitors to tell us that America has the greatest foundation of freedom in the world.

We live in a country where someone of meager means can use a dingy computer to start a blog and influence voters, maybe by the dozens, or maybe by the thousands.  We live in a country where someone with something to say can reach hundreds or even millions by calling up a talk radio host or writing a letter to the editor.

We live in a country where a billionaire born in Hungary is allowed to have inordinate influence in our elections.  But he?s no wizard behind the curtain?thanks to a free press, Americans are well-aware of George Soros? efforts.  If they don?t mind and decide to side with Soros, then oh well.  That?s freedom.

None of which is to say that there is no room for improvement.  Long before Florida?s chads hung in the balance, America has had ?procedural? issues on election day. 

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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