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Who's on stage in Indonesia's 'Theater State'?

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Pomp and pageantry are alive and well: Traditional festivities mark the wedding of a sultan's daughter in Indonesia's old city of Yogyakarta on Oct. 23, 2013.   © Reuters

Aesthetically, democracies don't compare well with their historical antecedents; most political events these days are dreary affairs compared with centuries past. Bureaucrats and businessmen, whether batiked or besuited, seem virtually indistinguishable from one another as they beg for our votes on hoardings and TV chat shows. Even when they've secured our support and assumed office, the most glamor we get from our leaders is a red carpet here, a convoy of black limos there.

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