Kim Jong Un first among one

A high turnout isn't always the sine qua non of the electoral process.

American voters long for a man or woman of the people — they just can't agree on who that person is. Hence, there's all that nastiness called the democratic process.

Voters in North Korea don't have that problem.

Kim Jong Un, the country's ruthless dictator, just won re-election with 100 percent of the vote. Even more impressive is that voter turnout was estimated to be nearly 100 percent. Talk about a landslide.

Of course, it helped that he had no opposition. Anyone even thinking of challenging this third-generation authoritarian would be well-advised to keep it to himself. There is, after all, always room in the country's concentration camps for one more dissenter.

Funny though it may seem, elections are big deals in North Korea, but not for the same reason they are in Western democracies such as the United States.

North Koreans vote every five years, and the process provides an opportunity to see who's up and who's down.

News coverage of this year's race featured dictator Kim Jong Un's sister. The regime obviously is grooming her for bigger things. There was no mention of Kim Jong Un's uncle, the onetime high-ranking government official he recently executed, or Kim's aunt, who was married to the man who was executed. The aunt apparently remains on the outs.

News reports indicate that North Korea's election also provides a means for the government to take a census of sorts. That way Big Brother can keep track of everyone in its own unique way. There also is the propaganda value of North Koreans going to the polls to anoint their rulers.

It's all very perverse — authoritarian rule disguised as democracy in action. Say what you will about self-government in this country, but always remember what Winston Churchilll once said — democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

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