When thinking about breakfast, it is important to remember that the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.
The government in Tunisia has fallen. Hosni Mubarak’s reign of Egypt has abruptly ended. Forty-two years of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s dictatorial control of Libya may have ended by the time you read this. Bahrain is in play. Other Arab dictators and kingdoms are in jeopardy. Freedom is in the air. The Arabs are demanding honest voting and real representational government.
The last two months have taught us the meaning of commitment. The people in Cairo were committed. They took to the streets, peacefully, and protested for change. Mubarak’s secret police, riding horses and camels(!) and wielding clubs and swords, charged into the crowds. The people stood their ground. The government was toppled.
The people of Bahrain are committed. They may not, however, know the first rule of dictatorships. A couple of days ago, a group of protestors, when approached by the army, took off their shirts, fell to their knees, and dared the military to shoot them. Here’s the rule: Don’t dare a guy with a gun to shoot you! The people of Bahrain are committed. They are willing to risk their lives to be free.
We don’t bother to vote. We don’t bother to even register to vote. We in the U.S. are free enough to not give a damn.
We may not over-achieve in the pursuit and maintenance of our own freedom, but we, the U.S., believes that we are the arbiters of who is free as well as who can or can not handle democracy.
We are thrilled to see Qaddafi overthrown. We exercised our G-d given authority to decide right and wrong and took out Saddam Hussein. But the repressive regime next door to Saddam, headed by the Saudi royal family, is our BAFF (Best Arab Friend Forever).
I am always amazed to hear people speculate as to whether the Arabs or Muslims can handle democracy. Who can? The cradles of democracy are Italy and Greece. Their last two thousand years have had many high and low points. Democracy has always been in the eye of the beholder. Remember, we had to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We had to. A sizeable portion of our current population would not have experienced democracy without it.
Thanks to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, minorities now have the right to ignore Tuesdays in November the way the rest of us do.
We’re involved, but we are not committed.