Thursday, July 04, 2013

Defining Democracy

We all know that President Obama gives awesome speeches, but it’s sometimes not altogether clear what the hell he’s talking about, and he can be pretty tactless at times. Such as when he says that, “Democracies don’t work when everybody says it’s the other person’s fault and I want 100 percent of what I want.”

He was actually being rather superior and insulting about Egypt, but it would have been easy to think he was talking about this country, where Republicans say it’s the Democrats fault, Democrats say it’s the Republicans fault, and voters 100% want a free lunch.

He also said regarding Egypt in the same speech that "our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party, our commitment has been to a process.” That process turns out to be that if roughly 4% of a nation’s population takes to the street the Army throws the present government out of power. Democracy takes different forms in different countries, you see.

When Hamas won the elections in Palestine we were much less “committed to a process” than we have been in Egypt, so apparently we will remain committed to a process only for so long as the process produces an outcome which we find acceptable.

And in this country, when large numbers of people took to the streets during Vietnam, the Army did not throw the government out of power, it threw the people out of the streets. As I said, democracy works different ways in different countries.

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