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A Lesson From The People of Hungary

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Message Lawrence Fiarman
This is America. We should be giving lessons to the world on democracy. Instead, we are taking lessons. The wonderful people of Hungary are angry and they are not going to take it any more. Their prime minister remarked that the government has been lying to them. The citizens are gathered peacefully outside the parliament building in Budapest, and say they are not leaving until the government resigns.

Now that's taking democracy seriously.

What have we been doing? We're one of the world's founding democracies. Let's just take a look at what we've been doing. Let's start right at the beginning of the Presidency of George W. Bush. Let's start with whether the government of America has lied to Americans. Are any of these statements, made by the President and Vice President of the United States, lies?

· "I'm a uniter, not a divider."
· Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.
· Iraq has ties to al Qaeda.
· Iraq tried to buy yellowcake in Africa.
· "They'll welcome us with open arms."
· "The insurgency is in its last throes."
· "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."
· We'll rebuild New Orleans better than it was.
· We don't use torture.
· We don't have secret prisons.
· "We don't wire tap Americans. Wire taps require a court order."

These statements certainly turned out not to be true. Did our leaders know they were not true when they made them? If so, they lied. If not, they have amazingly bad judgment or incredibly naïve wishful thinking.

The people of Hungary will not tolerate a government that has lied to them. They want the prime minister to resign now. Americans today are, well, more patient, and more tolerant of ever-present deceit. After all, we've got advertising. We're more sophisticated about lies. We're used to politicians just making things up. Swift-boating is now a verb.

No, you don't see us gathering around the White House or Capitol patiently, peacefully waiting until a deceitful government resigns. We don't take democracy that seriously. Come on, we have jobs and families. We'll see if we can even gather around the voting booths in November to take time out from our busy personal schedules to hold a government to account for its actions.

Our government says it wants to spread democracy in the Middle East. Maybe, if we want it done right, we should let the people of Hungary do it. They seem to have a better handle on it lately.
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Lawrence Fiarman is a freelance writer and former columnist for the local newspaper in his midwestern hometown.
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