Q: This election mess has left me ashamed. The world is laughing at us! What can I do for my self-esteem?
A: Take heart. Sure, we've got troubles in River City, but look at the Philippines: President JOSEPH ESTRADA (who played a crime fighter in the movies) was impeached two weeks ago on corruption charges: millions in payoffs from illegal gambling. He has denied all, but our actor-President was never even accused of such malarkey. So there.
Next stop, Peru. Its President, ALBERTO FUJIMORI, resigned by sending a Dear Juan letter from Tokyo to Lima. He said it had "nothing to do with" a corruption scandal, but the next day an outraged Peruvian Congress fired him, citing "moral incapacity"--a first for that country. Two vice presidents also submitted resignations. The president of the Congress is now interim President.
And you want a laugh, my angst-ridden American friend? In Canada, the leader of the right-wing Canadian Alliance Party, STOCKWELL DAY, proposed an easier way to decide whether to hold a referendum: if just 3% of voters sign a petition. In response, a TV show circulated an Internet petition to get the government to demand that Day change his first name to Doris. After three days it received more signatures than required--although it may have helped that anyone could sign a number of times.