Imagine this: Unhappy with high taxes, harsh economic fiscal policies and a lingering depression, revolutionaries led by angry war veterans storm courthouses to stop hearings on tax foreclosures and enforcement of tax liens. They then form a militia and the rebellion begins against our government.
At first, government officials take no action, but then the army is called out to put down the insurrection after the movement spreads to other states and more shutdowns in the court system occur. Eventually, the army engages in pitched battles with these rebels, now a force of thousands, as they attempt to seize an armory and engage in street battles in other cities. There are many killed and wounded, Habeas corpus is suspended and martial law is imposed on all citizens. After much bloodshed, the rebels eventually surrender and are imprisoned.
This scenario actually took place in western Massachusetts in the 1786-and it was not the last time that an American army shot down its citizens in the streets.
Known as the Shays Rebellion, it was one of a number of instances in American history where troops were called out to suppress violent actions by forces that threatened to overturn our government (with the Civil War being the prime and bloodiest example).
The Shays Rebellion had a major impact in discouraging similar grassroots rebellions in the infant "United States of America." More importantly, the rebellion impacted the thinking of delegates attending a subsequent Constitutional Convention in 1787 that lead to the abolition of the Articles of Confederation and the adoption of our US Constitution-and a stronger central government with a standing army.
Such military intervention in the United States has been always a necessary evil in our own country's democratic evolution-and the same is true in Egypt's embryonic "Arab Spring" movement.
Yet in 2013, some, including ranking government officials in the Obama Administration and Congress, are now condemning the unseating of the Muslim Brotherhood from power by the Egyptian army as anti-democratic. There's a regrettable push to term the action by the Egyptian Army as a coup d'état of the allegedly "elected" Muslim Brotherhood government elected by less than 50% of Egyptian voters who participated in a fraudulent election.
In fact, the action by the Egyptian Army is just the opposite.
The Egyptian military is rightfully seeking to preserve a Western based economic model and a secular government and society-and its actions are actually a positive step in that country's evolution toward democratic rule.
The concept of the "Arab Spring" that was triggered by the spontaneous swelling of protest that led to the overthrow of the autocratic governments in Egypt and Tunisia was incorrectly touted as the genesis of a new movement toward democracy in the Middle East.
Instead, the movement was immediately co-opted by anti-democratic radical Muslim movements supported by both al-Qaeda and theocratic Islamic governments in Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to attempt to impose Muslim theocracies in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and Libya.
The moves by the Egyptian military were not motivated as a pure grab for power, but instead were provoked by the increasingly brutal and autocratic moves by the Morsi government to debilitate evolving democratic governmental institutions like the Egyptian court system, to impose arbitrary theocratic Islamic Law that limited freedom of expression and equality of the sexes, and to lead a brutal religious cleansing and annihilation of Coptic and Christian minorities in the country.
The fact is that sometimes the use of brutal army force that results in revolutionaries being gunned down in the streets is indeed a necessary safeguard both to economic and democratic stability and to keep true egalitarian advancement on tract. That's as true in the 21st century Egypt as it was in 18th (or 20th) century America.
As long as they seek to impose religious law on citizens, theocratic institutions that evoke violence and regressive religious rule like the Muslim Brotherhood have no place in any democracy or Arab Spring.
The violence and bloodshed surrounding their eradication from power by the Egyptian Army is justified and necessary-and should be supported, not condemned by a United States with a similar history of such warranted bloodshed.
Steven Kurlander is a communications strategist and attorney from Monticello, New York. He blogs at Kurly's Kommentary and the Florida Squeeze.
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