Feb 12, 2011
America’s founding fathers stood up for their freedom, winning it from the British (with the help of the French).
The Egyptian people have stood up for their freedom, winning it from the Mubarak dictatorship (with the help of the army, which refused to fire a shot at the people, and may even have helped convince Mubarak to leave. See this and this).
The Egyptian people found their courage even when Mubarak’s thugs flew fighter jets low over their heads, beat and murdered protesters, and otherwise threatened violence.
But obviously, the American government is nothing like the Egyptian dictatorship, right?
I’m not saying that America is Egypt. I am saying that America today has a lot of problems also. (And if you think those problems started on 9/11, remember that virtually all of the current domestic and foreign policies were already in place or planned before 9/11.)
But unlike the Egyptian people, Americans have become scared of their own shadow. We have forgotten that courage and hope are choices – which do not have to come from John Wayne levels of testosterone, but can simply arise from loving something enough to want to protect it.
How Did We Turn Into the Oppressor?
How did we get on the wrong side of history?
The Egyptian People Have Changed the World
Minister Jim Wallis writes in an open letter to the Egyptian protesters today entitled “The Egyptian People Have Changed the World — It’s Their Turn to Lead”:
You have changed the world.
Remember, the United States was not talking about democracy in Egypt, not advocating it, not saying a transition is necessary and urgent, UNTIL you risked your security, safety and lives for the sake of democracy. You changed the conversation, and the conversation would be the same as it has been for decades if you hadn’t done what you did. Your generational peers are now watching what you are doing in countries across the Arab world, and beyond. This is the moment for you and for us.
You represent a new generation, a new leadership, and a new hope for the possibility of real democracy. Keep leading. My government, which still calls itself the beacon of freedom, has sacrificed democracy in your region of the world (and many other places) for American “interests.” And our foreign policy around the globe has put our interests before our principles. But they are not really the interests of the American people, but of oil companies, big banks and corporations, and rich and powerful people. Their interest in stability is very different from ours in democracy. So don’t be fooled, don’t listen to the so-called “wise” voices that have been part of the old reality and want to now thank you for your service to democracy, but are offering to take it from here.
Don’t let them. Keep demanding democracy — real democracy. Because, for the rest of us, democracy is the best defense of our “interests,” and the best path to genuine “stability.” And, for our part, we will do our best to stand with you. That will likely take sacrifice from all of us, because real change always does.
The Founding Fathers would be proud of the Egyptian people, just as they supported the French revolution. They would be disgusted at the spineless sheep that the American people have become.
Note: I love America and have lived here all my life. I criticize my country because I want to save her from the self-destructive, anti-American path that Bush and Obama have put us on. Just as the Egyptian people felt a need to speak out, so do I.
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.”
– Teddy Roosevelt
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
– Teddy Roosevelt
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
– Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”
– Franklin Roosevelt
“Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Ben Franklin
This article was posted: Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 3:13 am