7 July 14

Southern “Border:”

When in South Africa several years ago, I did some informal instruction at a range near the costal city of Durban. My hosts lived in Durban and transported me around.

On the way back to town one Sunday evening, it was late and dark, and we passed a large cemetery. It went on as far as I could see and must have consumed at least forty acres, probably more.

What caught my attention was the fact that hoards of miserable “squatters” had erected shabby hovels on nearly every square inch of open ground. Grave markers were only occasionally visible.

There were thousands of these pitiful people crammed into this graveyard, with no sanitation, no power, no water, nothing! I could see a candle burning hear and there, the only source of light. Standing-room only in some spots. The smell was overwhelming!

It was clearly unsanitary, unhealthy, and dangerous to have that many people crammed into such a small space.

Of course, I asked my hosts why these people were here and how long they had been there. I thought someone had discovered gold, or maybe they were all applying for jobs! Negative on both counts.

Almost casually, I was told that they had all been transported there, on busses, from rural areas. The busses had been arranged for by local politicians, who do this shortly before every election.

The only purpose for these people being there was to bolster votes on election day and keep local politicians in power. Votes are bribed, or terrorized, out of these pawns, because they are, at least for a few days, “residents.”

The day after the election, those same politicians will piously, and oh so self-righteously, proclaim that these disgusting “squatters” need to be run-out, without delay, because they’re making a mess of things. So, local police, the day after the election, will be seen chasing them all out. And, a few days later, the graveyard will return to normal. Next election, same nauseating charade, all over again!

I was also told that this kind of disputatious vote-mongering is common throughout South Africa, indeed throughout the entire Continent! It makes a cruel, disgusting mockery of the term “democracy,” but it is “standard procedure” in that part of the world.

But wait! It is now standard procedure here too!

Shortly before our mid-term elections, we see our president cynically telling everyone south of our southern “border” that, if they can physically get here, they can stay, no problem (at least through the election), so long as their votes keep him and his party in power. Their votes are illegal, of course, but no once seems to care about that either. After all, we have an entire political party, Democrats, openly promoting voter fraud!

The abject misery and squalor this kind of cynical politics manufactures, and the burden it places on the rest of us, is of no more concern to our politicians than it is to their sleazy counterparts in Africa.

Welcome to the Third World!

“When you think too much about being re-elected, you are seldom worth re-electing.”

Woodrow Wilson