So I Talked With This Cabbie

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"What's the worst cliché in journalism?" asks Jay Nordlinger at National Review's The Corner. "You, the journalist, get into a cab, and have an interesting conversation with the driver--and then report on it. There is nothing gaucher you can do."

Gauche or not, that won't stop him. "I really don't care" about the cliché, says Nordlinger, who then plunges into his own story about a conversation with a Tunisian cab driver in Dallas. The cabbie, unlike some jaded people born in the States, "finds our political system kind of a miracle: 'When a president's term is up, he has to leave ... If he tries to stay, the police or the military will come throw him out. He can't just hang on to power for as long as he wants.'" Here's another example of why the man appreciates America:

The driver was recently back in Tunisia. And a curious incident occurred, in the town. A horse reared up and injured somebody (not badly). The owner subdued the horse as quickly as he could. Later, a mob came and beat the owner up, as punishment. "My sister said, 'Good, he deserved it.' And she is a doctor, a psychologist. If she thinks this way--that a mob can just do what it wants--what about common people?"

America, he says, has an independent judiciary, and legislatures, and executive branches. In Tunisia--as in most places--it's all one. The cab driver thinks that the separation of powers is a miracle. Again, amazing what we take for granted.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.