If democratically elected leaders have a secret poetic love, then it must be Sylvia Plath. They must identify closely with the speaker in the poem 'Daddy,' particularly during this famous verse:
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
How else to explain the remarkable ease with which many democrats take to the slippery slope toward autocracy? For this is what seems to be happening in Georgia. Read on.
President Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the Rose Revolution, and credited as a force for democracy in Georgia, is facing an electoral challenge from a billionaire pretender with ties to Russia's Vladimir Putin. And yet, despite his sterling credentials, recent reports suggest that this election will be far from the transparent and fair exercise you'd expect. The opposition is citing a number of irregularities at polling stations, including physical intimidation, accusations that Saakashvilli's administration denies with language more appropriate for his regional rival Mr. Putin: 'no major irregularities' noted. Apparently, humiliating your opponent by stripping him of his citizenship is only a misdemeanor! But what this shows is that even the fiercest democrats find it hard to resist the siren call of one-man rule.
We're not suggesting that Georgia is ruled by and out and out autocrat -- yet -- but it's clear that someone has been reading The Dictator's Handbook, particularly chapter 12, where we take a good long look at how managing elections should be a tyrant's bread and butter.