Osama Bin Laden is getting positively chatty these days. He has released his third video in as many months -- this time calling for Iraqis to boycott next month's elections. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Having elected himself to his current lofty position as arbiter of all things on the planet, it would have been remarkable if he thought any more elections were necessary.
Although, to be fair to him (not that he deserves fairness), in his previous video, the week before our election, he did warn American voters in the red states that they would pay a terrible price if they voted for George Bush. While he didn't explicitly endorse John Kerry (presumably, even he couldn't figure out what Kerry's position was on anything), his negative advertisement against Bush might reasonably have been seen as participation in a democratic election.
But overall, I think we can put Mr. Laden down as viewing elections as unnecessary. As Emma Goldberg scornfully, if cleverly, observed prior to being deported as a dangerous foreign national to Russia during WWI -- elections are the opiate of the American people. For tyrants and their advocates, elections are silly, meaningless exercises of decisions between pre-chosen indistinguishable choices, intended to give the manipulated masses the illusion of free will in their choreographed political lives.
Tell that to the Democrats ... and the Republicans ... and the Europeans ... and the terrorists. As I prepare to go out and celebrate New Year 2005 -- I plan to celebrate the majestic and history-making election of 2004.
Our recent election joins the select ranks of epochal American presidential elections alongside: 1792, 1860, 1932 and 1980. In 1792, George Washington voluntarily stepped aside and ushered in true constitutional republicanism (or, as it is casually called, democracy). In 1860, Lincoln was elected, and he ensured the Republic while ending slavery. The year 1932 entered America into the modern age and, for better and worse, ended the limited role for government in our lives. The FDR era ended in 1980, and it started us on our current uncertain path back to our abiding first principles and values.
As the first presidential election in the post-Sept. 11 Age of Terrorism, George Bush's re-election this year should be seen as equally significant. It is, of course, far too early to judge whether his anti-terrorism strategy and tactics will turn out to be effective in protecting America (and the world) from the scourge of global terror.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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