And while many democracies, including the US itself, have figments of these vices, the situation is many times better there than it is every five years in my village, when we choose representatives at all cadres. [iStockphoto]

Out of my generosity, I have decided to educate my Uncle Harold on how American elections work, especially because this is the year to choose between bad and bad.

Like most of us here in Gitegi, Harold associates elections with violence, intimidation, manipulation and explosive gaslighting.

And while many democracies, including the US itself, have figments of these vices, the situation is many times better there than it is every five years in my village, when we choose representatives at all cadres.

Firstly, we are not used to leaders who pay allegiance to political parties and fight for the party to the end. There are no party ideals to defend and no sensible manifesto to sell, therefore, for most candidates.

Secondly, the January 20, 2020 insurrection the US has been talking about endlessly is such a common occurrence here that it would have been forgotten the day after. While they are careful not to break the law, we are not because you cannot break what is not existent.

And thirdly, and probably most importantly, citizens of the US matter post-election. In my village, you are treated like royalty when politicians are looking for votes.

When they win the seats, however, the electorate is quickly dismissed, reminded that the hoi polloi do not have a place in the elite cadres of society, and turned into floor mops.

“Then the US leaders must be weak,” Harold countered after listening to me with fascination. “How do you get so much power in such a beautiful country and not find a way to enjoy it for longer than usual?”

I told him that he would not understand because he has always lived in a system where the constitution is skewed to favour him. And this constitution is, in all honesty, non-existent, until Harold is facing a threat and needs something to defend him, now that his biceps are not as tough as they used to be.

In November, when the US goes to the polls, my people will have a lot to learn. There will not be people being dragged out of their houses to vote, no ballot paper stuffing, no money discreetly exchanging hands to influence the result and, best of all, no Harold to ruin the whole exercise.

But Harold will, of course, not run. I asked him if he is rooting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, and, feeling clever, he said it was forbidden to trump over others. I asked him if he was Democratic or Republican and he told me he was a Democratic Republican.

Someone recently suggested that Biden and Trump should be pitted against each other in a real, literal race. As funny as it would be completing a hundred metres in half an hour - Harold would come last if joined in the race.

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