Foreign Relations

Some readers have complained that this column has become too personal, too focused on my being a great father, an award-winning art director, and a god-like figure to the rest of the staff. In response to this concern, I have decided to look beyond my personal preoccupations and devote this entire column to commentary on international events, and the surprising way these events remind me of my own life. Such as when Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe recently stole the election and then wondered why foreign observers were "making such a big deal about it." Coincidentally, these were the exact words my daughter used when she came in after curfew.

In fairness to Mugabe, he simply wanted to spare his people the trauma Americans suffered after our own disputed presidential election, a time of acrimony and mistrust that turned brother against brother, sister against sister, and first cousin against third cousin twice removed (that one got ugly). Mercifully, Americans have the attention span of one of those squirrels that carefully buries nuts in the yard and then says to himself, seconds later, "Whoa! Somebody buried some nuts here! Well, too bad for them, 'cause it's finders keepers!" So Americans pretty much forgot about that election, unless they weren't Republicans from Florida.

But in Mugabe's case, he simply cancelled the recount, declared himself the winner, and jailed his opponent for treason. Had our own George W. Bush done the same thing, it might have spared Al W. Gore the sad spectacle of having to disguise himself with a beard before going into hiding.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2002
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