Democracy Down Your Throat
The other day I heard Obama talking on the radio, and a strange thing happened. He was talking about Iraq, and he used the term "safe for democracy", and in my mind’s eye, he morphed into George Bush.
It used to make my skin crawl to hear George W. Bush talk about democracy. I thought at the time it was his mean and twangy voice, poor pronounciation and subject/verb confusion. Now, though, my skin was crawling, and it wasn’t Bush at all, it was the silky baritone and crisp diction I’d come to associate with Obama.
Then, I realized what it was: the term "democracy" has come to mean something new, something cruel. It has become like-it-or-not democracy, democracy as date rape, down your throat democracy.
What we should be working to provide people in other nations is the freedom to choose their own form of government. Democracy should be a choice. It isn’t a choice everyone wants.
The people of China, for example, mostly don’t want democracy or American style capitalism. This is despite the fact that China now has almost as many billionaires as the U.S., and despite the striking students in Tienamin Square.
Iraq is in no shape for democracy, and neither is Afghanistan, and if we think about it, we know that’s true without a Rand corporation study. Many people there don’t trust democracy and think the whole election process is a trick.
When you look at how democracy is working in the U.S., you have to wonder if they are right to doubt it. Who is happy with what we have now?
The Boston Globe, last year, published an editorial complaining that Obama isn’t using the term "democracy" enough regarding Afghanistan and Iraq. I couldn’t disagree more. Democracy should be a choice, otherwise, it’s democracy without liberty.
Again, I refer to the United States.
It isn’t that Democracy isn’t important; it certainly is. But more important is self-determination. It might take some people awhile to understand the nature of freedom, and the courage it takes to be free.