The Nation Still Doesn't Know How Democracy Works

Jan 18th, 2010 | By | Category: The Nation

There is a certain irony to government because people do not like politicians, but, by definition, only politicians can run for political office. This makes for complicated relationships not only between the people and their political leaders, but the political leaders in their offices. The Nation, however, has proposed a modest solution that will solve all of these problems. Government leaders who are also politicians should simply quit. Brilliant!

In the editorial, “President in City,” The Nation writes a disjointed argument that starts by saying that President Zardari’s trip to the provinces proves that the country can continue to run when he is not in Islamabad. I am glad that The Nation has figured this out finally. I am worried, though, that these editors were staying home when Zardari was making overseas trips to the UN or to visit other heads of state. Did they think the country was shut down?

But the really funny part is when The Nation finds out that the President is a politician!

…the President may have realised by now that his position as President is in conflict with his position as head of one of the country’s two largest political parties. 

This realization has apparently caused great concern for the wise old men and women at The Nation. How can someone be a politician and be the leader of all people?

…he is supposed to be the foremost representative of the Federation, indeed its symbol, and should be open to all shades of politics, not just to those belonging to one party. However, the co-chairman of a party is expected to give ear to members of the party whenever he moves into the nation outside his capital.

This made me laugh out loud. Who does The Nation believe should be in government? Someone with no political party? Of course, The Nation‘s editorial page often drips with nostalgia for the bygone days of military dictatorship, so this could very well be true. But Pakistan is no longer a dictatorship (Alhamdulillah), and it is a ridiculous assertion that a democracy would be run by people with no political party. Is USA President Barack Obama not the leader of his Democratic Party? Is UK PM Gordon Brown not the leader of his Labour Party? Is Angela Merkel not the Chancellor of Germany and also the Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union political party?

Okay, clearly The Nation does not understand how a democracy works. But what is their solution for the confusing situation in which Mr. Zardari is both President and a politician? He must resign! Naturally! It is almost as if this article was written backwards. I can hear the conversation at The Nation‘s offices now:

“Okay, so we want a new editorial that says Mr. Zardari should resign.”

“Yes, but he seems to be doing everything that we are demanding! He has condemned the drone attacks, he has traveled to the provinces, he is working with opposition parties…what new way can we think to condemn him?”

“I know! We will say he is a politician!” 

Lately I have begun to wonder if Mr. Nadeem Paracha is not secretly writing the editorial page for The Nation as it has become some of the best political satire in the country. According to the logic of The Nation, no politician can be president. Brilliant!

It is clear that The Nation has some vendetta against the President and will not be happy until he resigns. That is certainly their right. But perhaps they should just be honest and write an editorial called, “We have a vendetta against the President and do not have any good reason, but would only like it if he resigns.” This would be much more honest and not require them to write such silliness as saying politicians should not be President.

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