The joys of Democracy

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The title of this column is not tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic.

In the past, this space has been used to decry bipartisan bickering and an apparent lack of civility among legislators at both the state and federal level.

But not today.

Instead, this column is a confession that Americans have it pretty good in this representative Democracy.

Americans don't always get it right, and that includes politicians and public figures, regardless of what side of the aisle they claim. Most of the time, those involved in debates have at least a shred of respect. Even if that respect doesn't exist or is discarded, political issues rarely transpire into violence in this country.

The tragedy in Tuscon, as well as other assassination attempts, bring everyone together for the most part.

As President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address, "Amid all the noise and passion and rancor of our public debate, Tuscon reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater -- something more consequential than party or political preference."

Meanwhile, differing parties and political preferences are threatening to tear apart the countries of Tunisia and Egypt.

Violence in Egypt has ramped up and has claimed center stage for many in western civilization who are monitoring the situations.

Protesters, both for and against the current governmental regime, have begun to reject peaceful protests and strike out against each other. Military personnel are following orders, watching the violence happen while merely ordering protesters to go home.

In the meantime, the United States condemns such violence, while requesting President Hosni Mubarak to begin to step down from his post.

Based on the divisiveness of Mubarak, such a request appears to be the right idea. The difficult part will be replacing the country's semi-presidential republic -- whereby the president is head of state and head of government -- with a true representative Democracy.

Of course, America needs to be careful of whom is supported. Those types of relationships have haunted this nation in the past.

However, that should not keep the U.S. from offering encouragement of a peaceful Democratic system. Thankfully, that is already happening.

Hopefully, it continues regardless of how inconvenient it becomes. Furthermore, one can hope that we continue to offer the same help to other countries, such as Tunisia, which has less economic impact than an oil-rich nation like Egypt, which also includes the important Suez Canal.

Regardless of what America potentially has at stake, encouragement should be the No. 1 priority.

And there is no better form of encouragement than to lead by example.