You Say You Want a Revolution Author: BobRDate:07/04/2013 14:26:50
Eleven score and 17 years ago, our forefathers declared their independence from the monarchy in England. The colonies had endured decades of rule which seemed only interested in using them as labor to enrich the home country. The residents in England had a say in the governance, but the colonists did not. Thus, they ended up getting the short end of any regulations. This was the root of the "no taxation without representation" mantra that ultimately resulted in the colonies declaring their freedom from England 237 years ago today.
After the war ended and we had won our freedom, a framework was put into place to create a representative democracy, where people elected a congress and president to speak and act for them. It's been tweaked a little through the years, but it is still the framework we use to this day. The problem with democracy is that there is always a minority on the losing end of election day that is not happy. Any alternative, however, is worse, so we have live with the reality that there will always be those unhappy with the government.
The American "experiment" has been a bit of a roller-coaster with its ups and downs through the decades. There are some who look with wistfulness at the original Revolution and think it's time for another. The Left and some libertarians decry the consistency of war, the intrusions into privacy, the ways that certain demographics are denied rights. The Right decries any attempts to curtail gun ownership, the "secularization" of government and society, taxation in general.
What if? What happens post-revolution?
In February 1979, the government of Iran was toppled. After 400 years of monarchy, the people overthrew the government. The Left was angry with social injustice and increasing brutality. The Right was angry over the "westernization" of society. After the smoke cleared, it was clear the Right was dominate and installed the Ayatollah Khomeini as the new leader. Iran has been an Islamist state ever since.
In December 2010, a fruit cart vendor in Tunisia, frustrated over the ongoing treatment of himself and others like him by brutal and corrupt police, set himself on fire in protest. The flames of protest spread throughout the entire North African continent and into the Middle East. The governments of Tunisa, Libya, and Egypt all fell. Syria is still embattled.
In Egypt, Mubarek was ousted, and a new government was created. Elections were held. Morsi won those elections by a slim margin in June 2012. In the year hence, he has not implemented the reforms promised as quickly as the people would like. He has also been leaning towards implementing elements of Islam into the government.
As a result, the people of Egypt returned to the streets in protest, and once again ousted their leader. Once again, the military is running Egypt, while another election is being lined up. What will be the results of that election? Will the majority once again elect a conservative? Will the people grow impatient and repeat their protests again next year? Is this sort of mob rule really the best way to run a country?
The idea of a revolution is to replace a government which suffers no consequences for their actions with one where the people can choose via Democratic means to replace them if they so choose. We did that in 1776 - we now replace our leaders all the time via a "majority rule" practice of voting. Egypt did the same, but grew impatient before the next election.
And Iran? If some of those people rioting and protesting were hoping for a more representative government, they were surely unhappy with the results. At the end of the battle, it is generally the group with the most firepower (and the willingness to use it) that takes control. How they will wield that power is always a bit uncertain. We in America were very fortunate to have wise men with the best interests of the people at heart. Were this to happen again today, I am not so sure that would be the case. I wonder how many people in Iran wished they hadn't made the trade from Monarchy to Theocracy? I wonder how many people in Egypt protesting in Cairo this week voted for Morsi, and how many didn't?
Ultimately, while I am unhappy with some aspects of our government, I know it is within our power to make changes via the polling place. That is the kind of change I trust - a time-tested democracy. You can keep your revolution.