Independence Day makes it tempting to reflect on the long, sad journey from the Founding Fathers to where we are now. That is not what this post is about. This is about the long, sad journey we encourage other countries to take and why they will never end up being what America is. These are places where democracy is a waste of effort.
Independence Day brings us victories for freedom in America.
Is it because of the climate of scandal smothering the White House that things suddenly seem to be improving? The Supreme Court gave us a surprising ruling on the vote that held the door open for state’s rights and voter ID laws stomped by Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
Gun control measures have fallen apart. The Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate is delayed for another year, a victory for business owners who will be able to run their companies for another 12 months without having to deal with more Obamacare red tape.
Why are even the smallest wins for freedom important? Because they seal cracks in the armor of our democratic government. Consider the opposite extreme, the political meltdown in Egypt, where democracy is a predictable victim to chaos.
Arab Spring be damned: how did that election work out?
You can’t embrace democracy if you don’t understand what it is. Democracy is not a convenience to be supplanted by mob violence or coups when things don’t work out. If your core beliefs don’t include the worth of the individual, then rule by popular vote is a meaningless concept (see: Syrian Muslims Can Kill Each Other Without U.S. Help).
How did Egypt transition from these remarks by nation-building Senators Lieberman and McCain to the anarchy we are witnessing now?
We congratulate Mohammed Morsi on his election to be president of Egypt. The Egyptian people have spoken, and we respect their choice and look forward to working with President-elect Morsi in a spirit of mutual respect and in pursuit of the many shared interests of the United States and Egypt.¹
The U.S. supported “Egypt’s transition to democracy.”² How are we going to “stand with the Egyptian people”³ when the voters we supported decide to oust their democratically-elected leader through the most undemocratic of means?
America has a history of beliefs to draw on. Countries that were around centuries before our founding still haven’t figured out the role people can play in government because the people exist to be dictated to by the military, despots, or clerics. When things go bad, these nations revert to what they know best. Suicide bombings are on the list. Representative government is not.
Complain as we will, there is no better place to be than here.
Have a great Fourth of July, everyone.
UPDATE: A few hours after this post was published Morsi was gone, the military was in charge, and Egypt’s constitution was suspended.