by Mark Saporta, Only Senior Political Correspondent
Pictured: actual political instability
Despite several years of incessant media coverage (including that by this very publication) of how the political situation in the United States is insane, our political crisis inexplicably remains among the least bad in the world.
While a broadly dysfunctional legislative branch, presidential politics increasingly divorced from reality and a complete lack of public trust in any institution may seem an unbeatable mélange of serious flaws, they scarcely compare to those of pretty much any other country.
For confirmation, one needs only to look at our closest allies. Once bastions of stability, the Western European powers are facing down crises of generational significance left and right (well, mostly right).
The UK has managed to shoot itself in more feet than should theoretically be possible in the last few months by voting for Brexit, catapulting UKIP into a position of actual significance, and putting Labour, its only serious opposition party, under the control of Jeremy Corbyn, an MP so leftist that he makes Bernie Sanders look like Dick Cheney.
France, typically a consistent if unruly stronghold of social democracy, has been wracked both by terrorism and by the xenophobia and Islamophobia that terrorism has created. It now seems disturbingly likely that the far-right populist and scarily well media-trained nutjob Marine Le Pen will place second or even win the coming election.
Even Germany, land of efficiency, moderation, and harsh consonants, is struggling to integrate millions of refugees trying to escape the ungodly clusterfuck that is the post-Arab Spring Middle East. Oh, and AfD, a far-right party, is making gains in regional elections, so that’s, uh, probably not good.
And that’s just the developed countries.
We’ve had a few protests recently here in the good ol’ US of A. We’ve even had a couple of riots. What we haven’t had is several million people out on the streets agitating (successfully!) to impeach the president following terrible economic mismanagement and a massive scandal involving a state-run oil company that has sullied almost everyone in the ruling party. That’s what Brazil has been dealing with for some time now… .and that’s not even getting into Zika.
The list goes on. In South Africa, the once-proud party of Nelson Mandela has become ridiculously corrupt. Mexico is beset by gang violence and, yep, massive corruption. Venezuela literally does not have any food, thanks to the incompetence of Hugo Chavez’s somehow even crazier successor Nicolas Maduro. And of course, North Korea is still North Korea.
So the next time you read a news story, even one written by readme’s very own Senior Political Correspondent, about how backwards or depressing or unreasonable whatever’s going on in America is, just remember: somehow, it’s worse almost everywhere else.