One thing you have to hand to the Americans (or United Statians) is the remarkable process they go through in electing their president.
It may be ridiculously long (almost as long as the person is expecting to serve). It may be fabulously wastful of money and resources (the amount spent on advertising could pay off a number of countries debts). It may be downright silly at times.
But they are actually choosing a leader. And even the choice of who will lead their party is open. Totally open.
When we look at the grim dynastic powers here - where the molly-coddled sons and daughters of the high and mighty are groomed for their posts - you just have to wonder.
I have nothing against the dear young lads who are waiting in the wings for their elders to pop off (our friend MK Stalin from Chennai is still called a youth leader though he is anything but young - and the list goes on). But would that they were not just foisted on us as the only choice left. The current set includes the Hnble. MP from Amethi - who has only given one speech in parliament so far (as I am told) but is now made one of the most senior leaders in his party - because he bears the Nehru-Gandhi name is the most obvious case. But each little regional party has its own dreary set of 'young leaders' who are mainly there because of their genes instead of their jeans.
And how wonderful for real local people to actually vote and choose. To meet in school rooms and restaurants and libraries and say that I want so-and-so to be the party's choice for president. And to have your vote count.
Hats off to the Americans. We may quibble with many of their interesting (make that infuriating) ways - but the basic choice that they have - and do exercise - only brings respect for their system.