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LETTER: Presidents, protests and the press

- Reuters

It’s 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, thence the unification of Germany — a direct result of East German protesters, coinciding with the collapse of the USSR.

In America, years of civilian protests finally convinced the government to withdraw from Vietnam in 1975.

Both these events prove that while some protesters are hugely effective, others are not so lucky and end up in overcrowded jails, or worse.

Every Remembrance Day we are reminded of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s infamous quote in 1918 that The Great War was “the war to end all wars.”

Yet look at the state of the world today — armies battle in various parts of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and prolonged protests rage in the main thoroughfares of Hong Kong, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, France, Spain, U.K., Lebanon, Iraq, to name but a few hotspots where citizens take to the streets voicing their anger at decisions made by politicians. Multi-channel television screens are filled with the bad news 24/7, yet governments world-wide make the same mistakes time and again.

This week Spanish citizens are voting for the fourth time in four years.

Having just endured a dreadful and ineffective election campaign for 40 days and 40 nights in Canada, an annual repeat is difficult to imagine.

The mother of all parliaments in the Palace of Westminster in London has turned into a theatre of the absurd for the last three years, where a dismayed audience watch parliamentarians act as verbal contortionists to tie themselves in knots over Brexit.
Yet, there’s every chance that global media will now put these various conflicts onto their back-burners for a while, to fully concentrate on televised impeachment hearings of the Republican President, live from Washington, DC.

Just 20 years ago a similar hearing was held for a Democratic President, who had been in the sights of the Republican Speaker since he picked up his gavel following the 1994 mid-term elections.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was foremost for Newt Gingrich and team back then. It’s a replay today with Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic team determined to humiliate Donald Trump.

We will be told ad nauseam about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and how the Upper Chamber has the final say with the Senate Trial.

Just like what happened in 1999, all the fancy speeches and political theatrics become meaningless without 67 or more Senators voting to convict.

Unless there is a monumental and unforeseen occurrence, it is very doubtful a guilty verdict can be rendered. A battered and bruised Trump will probably claim victory, just months before the election next year.

International media mavens know these basic rules, regulations and consequences, but will try and squeeze every last gram of vitriol out of the puerile political proceedings.

The majority of media has equally as much disdain for the current occupant of the Oval Office as he does for them.

To the more cynical among us it boils down to the Press versus the Prez.

Bernie Smith
Parksville, B.C.

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