Recalls of elected officials are said to be “divisive.” And, I guess, to an extent they are. The elected official being recalled seems to take it personally.
At times, democracy can be messy and unpleasant, since we don’t all agree on everything, including whether the guy or gal the majority of us reluctantly agreed to in the last election deserves to finish out his or her term of office. Across America, where citizens have access to the process, elected officials are recalled pretty infrequently, though more often recently than in yesteryears.
Politicians with power are more often running amok, so no wonder citizens exercise this democratic check “more often.” What’s the alternative?
Some would say wait until the next election. But sometimes waiting years for the next election is potentially too damaging or dangerous. This is even more so where democracy is more fragile, say in Egypt.
In this most populous Arab nation, street protests against the elected government were followed by a military coup d’état, tanks thundering down Main Street, the arrest of the president and other government officials, violent street battles and shootings of unarmed citizens protesting the government’s removal.
As official Washington decides whether or not to call it a coup — in effect, whether to fund those who carried out the overthrow — it dawned on me that a democratic process whereby elected leaders can be peacefully removed — i.e., recall — is a whole lot better and safer than street protests and military coups.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.