politics with a smile

It’s not often I get political in this blog – that’s not what it’s intended for. But yesterday I stopped for breakfast in the village and found myself watching Hugo Chávez proclaiming la victoria.

I can’t find a video of the exact part of the victory speech I was watching, but this will give an idea of the force of his presentation (warning! turn your volume down a bit if you don’t want to be deafened!).

(Note: I’ve replaced the video I had here originally as it seems to have disappeared off YouTube. This one is equally enthusiastic.)

As I watched, I suddenly realised I was sitting there with an inane grin on my face. Not so much because of the “victoria del sí“, but because the pure unadulterated enthusiasm of Comandante Chávez was infectious. And, of course what he said about it also being a victory for all those who had voted “no” was perfectly true.

It took me back to a conversation years ago in the UK when a group of us were bemoaning the government’s policies.

Several of us defended ourselves with the standard, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for them.”

“But you did vote?” asked the most radical of our friends.

And he then proceeded to argue that as we lived in a democracy and had exercised our democratic right to vote we had thereby given our implicit approval to whoever reached power. He, of course, hadn’t voted, and so was the only one who had any right to complain.

In a way he was right. If you accept the democratic system, you really have to accept that you’ll live with the result even if it isn’t the one you wanted. Otherwise you’re saying that democracy is only ok as long as the one who wins is the one you voted for. Which is not quite what it’s all about.

There’s not many politicians who make me smile, and fewer who can inspire such a reaction before the second cup of coffee. But Comandante Chávez managed to do so with his sheer enthusiasm and also with his acertados comentarios about democracy.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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