Power, Not Religion II

With respect to the comments of Lorne in relation to democracy, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

I wonder if it isn’t a bit condescending to ask if the Islamic/Arab countries are “ready” for democracy?

One should read Thucydides and ask oneself if the ancient Athenians were ready. Democracy was responsible there for terrible excesses, including putting Socrates to death for supporting religious diversity. Yet the Athenians invented what we call democracy. We are indebted to them, despite their failures.

One could think of how George Bush II won the 2000 presidential election, winning a Florida whose governor was his brother, when the Supreme Court disallowed a full recount. And Gore Vidal has made the point that it wasn’t the first presidential election where the result was manipulated to declare a victor other than the one mandated by the vote. Could we ask if the Americans are “ready”?

And here in Canada, we have a curious system where winning just over a third (37-40%) of the vote (which is at best 20-25% of everybody including non voters) guarantees absolute power for one man for 4-5 years. Are we the ones to best preach readiness for democracy? We love to preach, but are we hypocrites? Would anyone know if we were?

Dr. Morsi is currently experiencing what might be democracy simultaneously at its best and worst. The people will not stand for a democratically elected, self-styled dictator. Bloodshed may ensue. The Egyptians seem more ready for democracy than their new leader.

About brucelarochelle

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