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I oppose the military coup in Egypt, and here's why: It doesn't matter if Mohamed Morsi lied, it doesn't matter if he did the opposite of what he promised to do, it doesn't matter if he committed crimes, and it doesn't matter how many voters wanted him gone.

None of that is a justification for the military overthrowing a democratically elected government. And this is a lesson that Americans really still haven't learned -- voters are ultimately responsible for everything that the President does. Electing a poor leader and then having to endure poor leadership for many years is the price that voters should have to pay for making poor choices.

If the military is willing to step in and save the day every time people are unhappy, they will never learn to take responsibility for their decisions in elections. Voters in Egypt no longer have any incentive to think long and hard about what led them to make the wrong choice last year, or what about their system of government needs to change to produce better candidates. The military has given voters a get-out-of-jail-free card, a do-over that they don't deserve.

This is not an endorsement of Mohamed Morsi any more than it is implied acceptance of his policies. And any alleged crimes that he may have committed should be valid reasons for his lawful removal from office. Just not a military coup.

Now is the perfect time for Egyptians to learn this lesson, at the dawn of democracy for their society when it will last for a good long while. And the military needs to learn its place as a subservient arm to civilian leadership -- even poor leadership -- rather than some autonomous overseer with independent authority.

Without having to live with the consequences of poor choices in elections, voters will not learn to appreciate the true importance of the choices they need to make, and without a subservient military, Egypt will have a de facto dictatorship where the President is overthrown repeatedly until the military finds a puppet to do its bidding.

There's so much more to standing on your own as a new democratic country than just having elections. Finding out that democratically elected leaders can actually be as bad, or worse, than dictators and then having to live with it for a while is a part of the game.

A sick game, mind you, but a game nonetheless.

Living in a democracy means not always getting what you want.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Anyone disagree? (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to hear why, as it pertains to the argument I've made.

    •  a bridge too far (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      it doesn't matter if he committed crimes
      I am a very passive observer of the situation in Egypt - and I dare say that You would find others that will be able to make a far more cogent argument

      but - by including the above phrase, You have built Your bridge on a span that is too far

      IF the structure of Egyptian democracy doesn't allow for the structured removal (via impeachment or some other method) then one is left with a very fucked up situation - and one which will result in very fucked up solutions

      I agree with the broader context of "You get the government You deserve" - in terms of a country electing a government that it then has regrets about - it also contains arguments regarding 'recall' - it too easily allows shitty elected officials if the population knows that there is a safety valve for fucking up the decision in the first place

      HOWEVER - if the structure is fucked up, then the solution will be fucked up too - and I get the sense that is what is happening in Egypt

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:59:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Recalls" are nice but.. (0+ / 0-)

        They don't define democracy. Our legislature can impeach, but citizens can't. Many governors here can't be recalled. I think it's an important piece of democracy, just not a bright line.

        Think about applying those accusations to the United States. Many people accused George W. Bush of crimes, even war crimes, and he was carrying a ~30 job approval rating when he left office. Would the U.S. military have been justified in a coup to remove Bush?

        Many argue that Barack Obama's drone war is a series of war crimes. Should a coup take him out of office?

        I understand your point about crimes. It's a tough deal, no doubt.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  •  Have some of the same feelings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't get me wrong - I have no use for Morsi or anyone in modern society who wants to impose a warped narrow view of their religious beliefs on the general public thru force of law and policy.
    So I am not sorry to see him go.
    But at the same time if you are a fan of democracy it is not a matter for rejoicing either for all the reasons you mention.
    If an unpopular or incompetent leader can be deposed by the military as soon as sufficient numbers of people agree and cause sufficient unrest - then you do not have a democracy.
    You have a military dictatorship that tolerates the appearance of democracy and all its trappings until it becomes inconvenient.

    "Living in a democracy means not always getting what you want." At first I thought that was going to be about the Republicans in Congress. But then modern conservatives and Republicans have more in common with the religious extremists in the Middle East than they would ever care to admit or even consider.
    But then I suspect they are not really huge fans of democracy either - witness voter suppression efforts.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:29:18 AM PDT

    •  "At first I thought that was going to be about.." (0+ / 0-)

      I like using that phrase because it's a good reminder that not every imagined political injustice is the end of the world. I've used it in stories about Republicans and I'm sure I'll use it in stories about Democrats in the future.

      It's easy when living in a democracy as free as ours is (compared to others) to be lulled into believing that freedom means free to get whatever you want, free to win every time, and then to fall into the trap of believing that not getting what you want means no freedom.

      I'm glad that Morsi is gone, too. But I'm also mindful of the damage this coup is doing. To me, the lives lost of Morsi supporters killed by the military are no less important than any lives negatively impacted by rule under him. And perhaps this was unavoidable. Maybe Morsi was only a few days or weeks or a few hundred deaths of demonstrators away from resigning.

      We'll never know.

      But what I do know after living 33 years in our democracy is what I said. You don't always get what you want, and not getting what you want isn't a justification for throwing it all away.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  •  Perhaps so when a nation has a two year election (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cycle with a tradition of peaceful governmental transitions. Not to mention the national resources and distribution systems to keep the large majority of citizens clothed, fed, and sheltered despite economic ups and downs.

    Such is not the case in Egypt, and the economic calamity there is the real story. The political tooing and froing is just it's symptom. It is in fact astonishing to read very little from any Egyptian political faction on how they intend to feed their people over the next several months.

    It will look like the Latin American banana republics, but without the bananas. That is not meant in jest: few people actually starved to death in the Latin inflations. Egypt, which imports half its wheat and a great deal of the rest of its food, will actually starve.

    Revolutions don't only kill their children. They kill a great many ordinary people. The 1921 famine after the Russian civil war killed an estimated five million people, and casualties on the same scale are quite possible in Egypt as well. Half of Egyptians live on $2 a day, and that $2 is about to collapse along with the national currency, and the result will be a catastrophe of, well, biblical proportions.

    It's been a while coming, but its coming.
  •  I think I disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem is that Morsi's government opposed liberal democracy itself.  The people saw a lack of legitimacy, and the military enforced it; so long as they proceed with new elections, I think this is the best of the bad choices.

    Obama has rightly been fairly quiet on the issue, while not really opposing the military action.  This was the US doesn't lose much standing in the middle-east, and we have let the military know that we expect them to turn over power.  We give the military around $1B in aid a year, so what we say will have some effect.

  •  so you don't believe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftykook, kyril

    that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed?

    I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

    by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:52:25 AM PDT

  •  I don't believe democratic elections are suicide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    pacts...not for individuals nor for the democratic institutions that made those elections possible.

    I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

    by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:25:35 PM PDT

  •  I suggest you read OllieGarkey's recent diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pwtenny, HeyMikey

    Here's an excerpt, from an update:

    There's a question being raised repeatedly (and very respectfully I want to add) about whether a military coup can actually benefit the people of Egypt. (There's wrangling about whether we should call this a coup.) I think the people raising those questions deserve a detailed response.

    I do think calling it a coup is appropriate. If you look at the coup that led to Democracy, the Military made huge mistakes. The interim government ordered the protesters cleared, and it was a disaster. In a way, our revolution was itself a kind of military coup against the lawful constitutional monarchy. The will of the democratically elected leaders in London was thwarted by force of military arms.

    In America, we have had our own history of violence. We had the whisky rebellion. We had the civil war. We cannot forget the lives that we lost establishing that democracy must have a monopoly of force.

    We must not forget that while democratically elected, our first president was a military strong-man who crushed rebellions. We must not forget that the protection of our Democracy under Lincoln required martial law and a suspension of constitutional liberties. That is what it took to protect our nascent democracy. In Egypt, it seems to require a military intervention as well.

    If you see what I did there, it's very easy to boil down a complicated situation, and make things look undemocratic. Like the ongoing American Revolution, the situation in Egypt is too complicated for a few paragraphs.

    You are right to be concerned about the Egyptian Military. I do think, however, that they've learned their lesson about trying to hold on to power.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:30:42 PM PDT

  •  It's not so clear. (0+ / 0-)

    One of the major liberal candidates was disqualified by the Shura Council from even running in the 2012 election. And the Egyptian constitution was imposed by non-democratic means. In the last days of the Morsi administration I don't think there was a good option; there were only bad and worse options.

    This is really very good:

    I hope Egypt will soon democratically elect not just a new president, but a new constitutional assembly, to draft a new constitution by truly democratic means.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:56:02 PM PDT

  •  I'm astonished at the projection on this thread. (0+ / 0-)

    This isn't Iowa or Florida. This is a country that had not been able to feed the majority of its people much above a subsistence level for a number of years. One's stomach influences ones responses MUCH more than one's politics do.

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