Ok- did I get your attention?
I’m not talking about the 2016 election here in the US. I’m going all the way back to 1992, in a very different part of the world, in the country of Angola in their very first open election since independence from Portugal.
These six words were uttered by a representative for Jonas Savimbi, the losing candidate in the Angolan election in 1992. I was in Angola, and I understand Portuguese, so as I heard this on national television, it frighten me. I knew it was untrue. The UN had monitored the election, and while there were irregularities, it was, on balance, a fair election.
What came through on that day in 1992, was the intense anger in place of a concession speech. Savimbi’s representative blasted away at the government,. declaring the entire election system was rigged. All election results were false. To Savimbi’s supporters, the government had stolen the election. If someone steals something, the natural reaction is revenge.
Savimbi did not blast away at the election results. He let others do the dirty work for him.
Lost in all of this was the respect for the people who worked to make sure fair elections were held in Angola. The Carter organization had helped to monitor the elections, along with UN monitors. My friend was one of the election monitors. It was a dangerous voluntary work.
The trust we have in our election system, can also be undermined by politics. Hateful and dishonest rhetoric is dangerous. Volunteers from the Women League of Voters, help keep our elections fair and honest.
What followed in Angola, was a resumption of a civil war, which lasted until year 2002. So people died believing in hateful lies.