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A worldwide phenomenon is the protest against Hollywood trash, symbol of cocacolonization. The simple fact is that people like coca cola and it sells. The same may be said of American political hoopla. Brought up on the speeches of my contemporaries Gladstone and Disraeli, I regarded politics as a very serious business. I was appalled when I came to this country at the hoopla which marks what is described as a political convention. I still am. So is much of the world. But it sells, and buys votes. The latest country to be hit by this plague is once-solemn Germany, as exemplified in the conventions of the Social Democratic Party, which feature empty speeches by candidate Gerhard Schroeder and the usual array of American-style hoopla. Those surfeited with this may take refuge in Spanish meetings, which are still serious and dignified. Spain may become a beacon of democracy (or it may not. Perhaps it too will succumb to the plague).

Ronald Hilton - 03/23/98

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