Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egypt: Hopes and Cynicism

I'm watching the current unrest in Egypt with mixed hopes and fears.  I hope that they can prove to be the modern lesson to the world that the American Revolution was at its time.  I hope that they get a government put into place that has the good of the people (you know, the ones that government is supposed to SERVE?) ahead of the good of the individuals running the government.  I hope that it all happens with a minimum of bloodshed and horror.

The cynic in me, however, watches and wonders if this isn't going to lead to a chaos that engulfs yet another country for decades.  I hope not.  No people deserve the kind of fate that places like Iraq and Afghanistan and assorted African countries have suffered through, where it is completely "might makes right" without even the slightest hope of justice.

Unlike some, I am not worried about whether it puts a conservative Islamic government into place.  You know what?  It is their country, and if that is the government that the people put into place, then that is their choice.  Provided that it IS the government put into place BY THE PEOPLE.  I know, there's really no way to know for sure nowadays if it really is the will of the people, but I still hope that the will of the people truly prevails this time and they get the government that works best for the vast majority (because, let's face it, no government works best for EVERY person in that country all of the time).

So for those of you who fight in Egypt for food, employment opportunities, and a better life for your children, I hope that you achieve your goals.  I hope that you manage it with the least amount of chaos possible, but some chaos will be necessary.  Please hold onto your ideals throughout the struggle, as hard as that will be.  I would like to see you become a symbol of the good that a people can do when they get tired of being taken advantage of and step up to demand better of those in power.

For those of you in the United States who are comparing our current situation to theirs, um...reality check!  Seriously?  There is no way that we live under the same kinds of threats that the people of Egypt have been living under.  We do not have to fear torture teams breaking into our homes in the dead of night and taking us away.  We have the chance to have a true voice in our government every two years.  We do not have a "President" who has essentially made himself a monarch for over 30 years.  Yes, there are massive flaws in our system as it stands in this point in time, but they are flaws of our own making and flaws that we have the potential to fix without rioting in the streets.  Whether that will happen is up to us, up to the silent majority that lets the vocal minority extremists speak for us even when we disagree with what they are saying.  It is up to us to go and actually vote when there are elections of any kind, not just Presidential ones.  It is up to us to get information from a variety of sources and not to just regurgitate the party line of whichever single news source best matches our personal views.

We have the right, and the obligation, to be informed and active in our government.  We have no one to blame but ourselves if our government is not meeting our expectations.

The people of Egypt have not had those rights, and they are standing up and demanding them for themselves.  We need to learn from them and become the country that we have the potential of being.

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