Election contrasts

Individual American voters have considerable influence in deciding who represents them in Congress and other elected positions, as the current series of hard-to-forecast presidential primaries and caucuses shows.

Soviet voters have virtually no say in choosing their leaders. Once again this week, the world had graphic evidence of this, as Soviet voters went to their polls to vote for candidates to the Supreme Soviet, the nation's top legislative body. Each candidate ran unopposed, and each was selected with the approval of the Communist Party. Soviet voters have no real choice: Their elections really are affirmations of leaders already chosen by their single party.

That is the opposite of what's happening in the US now. American voters, from Iowa to Maine, seem determined to do the precise opposite of what leaders of organized labor and other segments of society have exhorted. Yankee contrariness , some observers scoffed of the New Hampshire result in which Gary Hart startled Walter Mondale and most everyone else. But that missed the point: It really was American independence.

Democracy may be sometimes unruly, and require diligence of its citizens. But it remains head and shoulders above all other forms of government.

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