Monday, July 5, 2010

Small Bag of Blog Links and some thoughts on Independence Days


Three on trust and Africa: US corporations - against "knee-jerk prejudice and the willingness to write off an entire continent of people as liars and cheaters"; aid workers meeting corruption everywhere vs. in everyone; trusting the media to report on good news in eastern DRC.

From the first day of Congolese Independence, compared to 50 years later. A grand vision with which I cannot help but entering into sympathy that is lacking in completion. (Hat tip: Texas in Africa)

Speaking of 50 years later, July 4, 1826 was when both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away. John Quincy Adams was president at the time, merely our sixth president. He had spent most of his time working as our ambassador to various nations and spent 8 years as Pres. Monroe's Secretary of State, drafting the Monroe Doctrine. If the election of 1824 had been held today, his opponents would have been saying he stole the election, which was decided by the House of Representatives. He spent most of his presidency building canals, roadways, and treaties. He said, "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." He also passed protectionist tariff laws that would not be allowed by today's WTO.

At that time, Missouri had been a state for 5 years, giving us 24 states. The nation was deeply divided at the time over slavery and states rights, though it would take almost another 40 years before the rest of the world shook their heads as our country was riven apart by civil war (We knew they could never handle independent government! Maybe it would be for the best if England took charge again.). Also in 1826, Maryland decreed that public office could be held by a Jew. Previously a belief in Christianity was required of office holders

Going back to John Adams (Quincy's dad, another family that stayed in politics a while) for a moment, aside from his work promoting the concept of independence and his pivotal efforts in Congress and the Presidency, one of the things which I think alone makes him worthy of remembrance is that when he was defeated in election by the other party (Tom Jefferson), he willingly stepped down. No election funny business, no military protections, no recounts. He stepped down.

So has Somaliland's President. Good show. Roving Bandit asks "Would somebody please recognise Somaliland?! They have bi-o-met-ric pass-ports" and just passed this major democratic hurdle few African governments have managed. "Let the people vote for what they want."

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