Two Tightly Controlled Elections
Okay, so why did my mind flash immediately to the coming Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly's election of a Stated Clerk?
The newspaper teaser sounded just all too familiar:
- Someone in office and expecting to win gets challenged.
- All challenger campaign rallies are banned. (In our case, the total campaigning ban for stated clerk is due to new standing rules first proposed by the office from which the candidate in power is running. The rules were then approved without consideration by General Assembly in a consent agenda. Strangely, these new rules happen to have sprung from a process first kicked off by allegations that supporters of the present Stated Clerk had attempted to manipulate the previous election.)
- Although of course no rival is being physically detained, the challengers might as well be, for election regulations have lowered a cone of silence over them.
- Somehow challengers must try to become known and elected anyway, even given the many imposed disadvantages.
Think maybe President Mugabe got hold of our new rules and picked up some tips on how to run an election from a position of incumbent power? We Presbyterians apparently have written the book!
Were it so, it wouldn't be the first gift the church has given Mugabe. He rose to power as a violent rebel commander, funded in part by World Council of Churches dollars earmarked for liberation causes. The PCUSA still funds the WCC to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars a year.
Remember when Mugabe's men shot down an airplane carrying missionary families and then murdered those who survived the crash? That didn't keep him from being the darling of WCC liberationists, however, and the honored host of a WCC assembly, once he had seized power.
Ah, your per capita dollars at work!