Why do some people consider it wrong to have a revolution within a democratic system?
While America celebrates its freedom and democracy, Egypt again finds itself in turmoil after a coup d’état that removed the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi after only a year in power.
The coup can be seen as essential step to continuing the Arab Spring Revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak two years ago.
Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected in a democratic election last year capturing 51% of the vote. You might think that number is high enough to give legitimacy to an elected president, and it would be in most traditional democracies.
However, Egypt is new to the game and last year in the first national election in Egyptian history they were given two terrible choices; Morsi, the supposed religious moderate of the Muslim Brotherhood or Ahmed Mohamed Shafik, the Prime Minister of deposed dictator Mubarak.
Many Egyptians wound up voting for Morsi, not because he was the better man, but because he had no ties to the Mubarak Regime. In short he was the lessor of two evils.
Less than a year into his presidency a grass roots campaign emerged called tamarod (rebel) demanding that President Morsi resign and call early elections. Having collected an unverifiable 15 million signatures in support of their cause, the tamarod movement took to the streets.
What Egyptians got from Morsi is what they feared they would get from Shafik. Instead of fulfilling his commitment to build an inclusive, consensus government, Morsi used his majority to grab as much power as he dared.
He attacked freedom of speech and expression, censored the media, attempted to turn the country into a hardline Islamic State, completely failed to stabilize the economy and never owned up to the failures of his presidency. In effect, the Arab Spring of Egypt was derailed when Morsi took power; the people of Egypt noticed little difference between him and Mubarak.
So with millions of protesters once again taking to the streets in the hope of ousting their leader, the Egyptian military removed Mohamed Morsi from power and placed him under house arrest.
The removal of Morsi by the Egyptian Military has been reported in western countries as a military coup, but that is a pretty simplistic statement. Military coups are usually followed by the installation of a general as dictator, not the head of a country’s Supreme Constitutional Court or an announcement of a new election.
This latest revolution in Egypt has fascinated me, how often is a democratically elected leader overthrown by his own people? That’s normally done with an election. It made me wonder what would happen if millions of people took to the streets in the United States, kind of like Occupy Wall Street on steroids.
I would imagine the people would crumble under the foot of a militarized police force and National Guard. Pepper spray and rubber bullets for everyone. Whatever would happen, I doubt it would change much in Washington.
Revolutions take place to overthrow oppressive, corrupt, self-indulgent dictators, but why should public revolutions be reserved for only selected forms of government? Why do people consider it wrong to have a revolution within a democratic system?
If a president, congress and the courts are no longer seen to be keeping the public interest in the forefront of policy, but are themselves oppressive, corrupt and self-indulgent would it not warrant a similar revolution as Egypt?
I can tell you with certainty that every branch of the United States government was hijacked long ago by corporate interests. Every decision the Supreme Court makes comes out in favour of big business over the little guy. The president and congress are slaves to the corporate teat that feeds their campaigns to the detriment of every day citizens.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the overthrow of the American Government (not yet), just the system. It’s become clear that electing politicians doesn’t fix the crux of what is wrong with the country when they’re just out to get a slice of the corporate pie.
Americans no longer own their country; they’re just played to think they do. The democracy they believe to be celebrating this week is more of an illusion. If people were so free in this country they wouldn’t be getting shit on from those up above regardless of political affiliation.
I’ll always wonder if a massive nationwide demonstration unmatched in human history would be enough to topple the oligarchy that has become America. Would mass action lead to just a change in government, the whole system itself or just lead to bloodshed?
Egyptians hungry for real democracy were given another shot this week, when will the people of the United States ask for theirs? Democracy deserves a second chance.