When they finally got the chance, the good people of Yugoslavia voted the war criminal Slobodan Milosevic out of office. But he wouldn't leave until they threatened to burn down the parliament building.
Like most of us, I'm sure, I was cheering them on but as I watched them pour into the streets I was reminded of what we take for granted: that such a thing would never happen here.
We're in the middle of a presidential campaign - and once it's done, some will be delighted and some will be disappointed, but all of us will accept the results.
At the appointed time, the president will leave voluntarily and the winner of the election will be sworn in.
He won't have to check with the army or the rich people or the labor unions and for no other reason than this: we are a nation of laws and civility and we simply wouldn't tolerate it.
Americans play by the rules. We founded our country on that principle. We respect each other and we like it that way.
That's one reason the vice presidential candidates' debate was so refreshing. After so much "gotcha" politics lately - maybe "juvenile" is a better word - two intelligent men held a civil discussion of the issues.
Their obvious respect for each other was a way of showing respect for the rest of us, as well as an understanding of what makes this country what it is.
Let's hope the men at the top of the ticket were watching.
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