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Leslie K. Stein

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Comparing Democracy in Action: And Doing Something About It

Posted: 07/10/2013 2:51 pm

Suppressing voters' rights, rigging elections, eliminating women's rights, eliminating funding for education and arresting protesters. Sounds like Sharia law, or maybe a third-world nation. Is it a nation that we must monitor, invade and fix? Do we need to bring democracy to this barbaric place? I think so, but this is Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin and many other U.S. states -- and the elimination of rights may be coming soon to a state near you.

Why do we expect Egypt to get democracy right the first time? We are proof that democracy is a work in progress. Egyptians fought for independence from Hosni Mubarak, former president (or former dictator) of Egypt. The current generation never experienced democracy in their homeland, but they craved it and they fought for it. So, they didn't get it right the first time, and now we are outraged that the democratically elected leader, President Mohammed Morsi, has experienced a minor setback -- a coup. This is after the democratically-elected leader lied to his people about the change they should expect and then changed the country's constitution to give himself more power. Something tells me a recall election or impeachment process would have been less effective than the only retaliation the people had -- an army-backed coup to implore a do-over. Democracy is alive and well in Egypt, and the people and the military should be supported and applauded. They took action and are not asking for outside help.

The people have spoken -- they were tricked by the Muslim Brotherhood. We should be happy that the Egyptians have figured out sooner rather than later that this group is made up of fanatic Islamists. And they are trying to right a wrong. Sure, some are angry and are protesting that the democratically-elected president should not be deposed. But these are the people who support Sharia law and want to limit rights and access to the government for people who are different from them (and do not support suppression and oppression). The people figured out that the Muslim Brotherhood won the election last year because of name recognition. During the huge void in leadership following Mubarak's fall the Muslim Brotherhood organized and stepped in quickly to fill that void. They were the only truly organized and funded group that could rally the people and fund an election. This was something that most democratic countries, including the U.S., didn't really see coming. Once again, we didn't have a plan to help implement democracy once the process got going.

What gives us the right to police the world and dictate political policy and democracy while we are guilty of abuse and corruption at home? We are so very guilty of "Do as I say, not as I do," in the political world. And it is hurting our reputation all over the world.

Instead of worrying so much about the invasion of Sharia law in our country, and policing others, maybe it's time to cut the crap and "Do unto others." Feed hungry children, let people vote and stop rigging elections at home. Only then can we really be the model of democracy that we think we are. People are out there fighting and dying for democracy. Maybe we should fix our problems at home.

 

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