Thursday, July 4, 2013

Egypt Envy: The American Revolution Redux

So, you're calling the revolution in Egypt a 'coup'? Is that a bad thing? I mean, it's July 4th, America's Independence Day, a celebration of a coup, n'est ce pas? That's what I heard in President Obama's address to the nation today. Honestly, you would have thought he was talking about Egypt. Listen to this:

" On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal – free to think and worship and live as we please.  It was a declaration heard around the world – that we were no longer colonists, we were Americans, and our destiny would not be determined for us; it would be determined by us. Substitute: We are Egyptians and our destiny will not be determined for us (so stay out of this America); it will be determined BY US.-->

It was a bold and tremendously brave thing to do.  It was also nearly unthinkable.  At that time, kings and princes and emperors ruled the world. (and today we have dictators, religious zealots, punks) But those patriots were certain that a better way was possible. (Egyptian patriots are certain that a better way is definitely possible and they ain't taking 'no can do' as an answer.) And to achieve it – to win their freedom – they were willing to lay it all on the line. Their lives. Their fortunes.  Their sacred honor. (Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are doing like-wise.)"

And:
 "I want to say a special word of thanks to the men and women of our military, who have played such a vital role in the story of our nation.(Isn't the military playing a vital role in Egypt? Of course, like all 'militaries', they must be watched.)  You have defended us at home and abroad.  And you have fought on our nation’s behalf to make the world a better, safer place. (Uh, not so much.) "  

Here's where Egypt Envy comes in. Watch Egyptians out on the street for days and days and weeks and weeks and not for the first time! Remember, they did this a couple of years ago which sparked the Arab Spring and revolutions in repressive countries with repressive regimes. And when their infant democracy looked like it was going south under Hamid Morsi, they let him know that no one is safe to rule the people. It is the people who rule the 'leaders'. And that is exactly what happened on the 4th of July, 237 years ago today in these United States of America. I can hear you say, "But we Americans peacefully vote out representatives we don't like on election day." Sadly, our 'democratic' system is dangerously rigged and we better protest to fix that, too, or eventually, we too will live under a repressive regime. Revolutions aren't always fought on the street. Dastardly right wingers are doing everything they can to undermine our system so they can 'rule' you. Do not take anything for granted.

While I'm not advocating revolution (helloooo NSA), Americans would do well to learn something from these protesters. Americans have the attention span of a gnat. A one day rally here, an afternoon protest there, sign a few petitions online and, ta da, "I'm an activist!" It takes a lifetime to effect change or keep what you already have. Words are cheap. Get off the couch. Take all that energy you have yelling at the television when you hear the news about injustices here at home, and become an actual activist, a lifelong one. In the spirit of our revolutionary forefathers, keep your eye on the ball and don't ever let our leaders forget who they are working for.