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Double Standards

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For four years, the Democrats and the leftists in the United States did not acknowledge the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency. They accused the Russians of having interfered in the US elections in favour of Trump. They even tried to impeach him. He may be an obnoxious person but he did represent the people’s mandate. However, when he alleges that the 2020 election was rigged, he is accused of insulting American Democracy.

When Black Lives Matter mobs rampaged through the streets of US cities, indulging in uncontrolled violence, damaging and looting property, fighting the police, no Democrat including the newly elected President and Vice-President cared to condemn it. Instead they sought to project the violence as justified. Now, when an out of control mob ‘occupied’ Capitol Hill, it is considered sacrilege of the highest order. It must not be forgotten that the US establishment has supported similar political movements and takeovers around the world, from the ‘Arab Spring’ to the recent assaults on the legislature in Hong Kong. China has rightly described it as ‘Karma’.

Basically the crowd of Trump supporters, who actually believe the election was ‘stolen’, intended to demonstrate outside the seat of the US Government, but found it possible to enter and occupy. This is how crowds turn into mobs – the failure of the forces of law and order to prevent. It reveals the failings of a complacent society that believes the US is too powerful to face third world like situations. It must not be forgotten that the very persons lamenting the incident are the ones that were not so long ago demanding defunding and disbandment of the police.

The US claims to be the world’s leading democracy and is always willing to provide unsolicited advice on it to the rest of the world, including India. The fact is there are many deficiencies in their system, beginning with the nature of representation, the Electoral College, and how the votes are cast and counted. At a time when nations like India have introduced modern technology like the EVMs and can announce the results within a day of counting, the US continues with an archaic adherence to the practices of two hundred years ago. The entire process is based on the paranoia of a time when the original states did not trust each other or anybody for that matter. The system now requires transparency, accuracy and elimination of processes in which ballot boxes can be stuffed and electorates denied their right to vote; where interpretations by local officials and courts can affect the overall result.

It must not be forgotten that Trump, flawed as he is, was the representative of a genuine sentiment in American politics. It cannot be wished away merely because it is raising inconvenient questions. That politics will remain, might even find a better leader in the future.