The victory of Evo Morales in Bolivia's recent election is fantastic news, and a great opportunity for the USA to learn something about Democracy, our alleged drug of choice.
Much of our media has been preoccupied with the "worrisome" (says Rumsfeld) developments in Latin America, what with Castro, Chavez, and now Morales...and thus, the arrogance of our nation is laid bare before the world yet again. Morales did not rise to power by staging a bloody revolution or by slaughtering innocents or by cheating the electoral system... his victory was the result of Classic Democracy, of the sort the USA has been preaching for ages.
So here we have a strong leader who's primary interest is making his nation stronger, and it appears to be making the Bully Nation nervous. Nationalizing Bolivia's gas reserves and liberating his nation's coca farmers from the deadly effects of Bush's insane "war on drugs" is exactly what Morales SHOULD be doing. It's no small detail that Morales is also the first indigenous person to lead a nation in the western hemisphere: a huge victory right there.
Reaction to all this from the States has been very telling indeed. For instance:
We have very rigid national borders: from the high walls and armed checkpoints abutting Mexico, to the truckloads of arrogant redneck vigilantes calling themselves "minutemen", patrolling day-labor sites. Our borders can be very tangible at times. But when it's convenient, our nation's borders can stretch to encompass everything we see, as evidenced by our habit of referring to central and south america as OUR BACK YARD.
What arrogance! A "back yard" is where you send your dog for a quick pee. Perhaps that's what we've done, considering our Secretary of Defense's recent comparison of Chavez and Morales to Hitler.
Go outside, Rumsfeld, and pee on Latin America. Good pup.
Perhaps the biggest lesson the USA should take from all this is one of perspective and humility. We did not invent "democracy" and we hold no control on it's execution throughout the world. Therefore, when a popular vote installs a cultural hero like Evo Morales, or thrusts a group like Hamas into a position of great responsibility, we have NO GROUNDS on which to claim "democracy" wasn't done right. We are certainly not the most persuasive teacher on the subject.
And with that said, I'll stash the soap-box and return to whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing. More typical IntangibleArts musings next time.