April 29, 2005


Bush's democratic relativism
by Jim Hightower

America stands for democracy throughout the world, right? George W says so in nearly every speech he gives. He points to Iraq, Lebanon, the Ukraine and other distant lands, declaring that if people living under autocratic leaders rise up, "America will walk at your side."

So, when hundreds of thousands of people rose up in April against an elitist, autocratic regime, pouring into the streets to demand an unfettered democratic vote for the presidency of their land, surely George leap to their side, right? Mmmmmm... no.

It seems that democracy is a relative value for the Bushites, to be applied only where it fits their ideological view and corporate agenda. The Mexican people, for example, need not apply. As in many countries just to our south, there's a growing popular rebellion in Mexico against the self-serving elites who've ruled there for years. It's a rebellion that repudiates the free-market nostrums of corporate globalization that have further enriched the corrupt elites and furthers impoverished the many.

The mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has become a rallying point for this democratic rebellion. He has criticized NAFTA, helped workers and the poor, challenged the corporate regime of Mexico's current president and become the most popular politician in the country. He is by far the leading candidate to be Mexico's next president.

This has so unnerved the moneyed establishment that it is attempting to imprison Lopez Obrador on trumped up charges and prevent him from running for president. All across Mexico, this dictatorial action has prompted outrage and spurred the new democratic movement.

So has George W assured these democracy fighters in our neighboring land that America walks at their side? No. He's ignored them, leaving it to a spokesman to dismiss their popular protest as an internal Mexican affair.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com.


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