The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Fear and hope in republican revolution

A certain nation overthrew  its tyrant and set out to establish its own unique system of governance. With a new constitution in place, the new republic set about its business.

However, it was not long before this new republic was in trouble. It was constantly fighting wars, even picking on its weak neighbors. It decimated an indigenous population. Abhorrent social structures exploited the weak. Before long it descended into civil war. Even after the war, social injustice was systemic. The republic was a hotbed for religious zealots. It continued in its belligerent ways.

This could be many republics, but of course I am here describing the United States of America. We've had a pretty rough stretch since our founding, and some might say we are not out of it yet. That does not mean that we as a society have not had our bright moments. But there is something dangerous in the midst of the hope of a new republic.

We saw this same danger play out in the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Sure the nation threw off a dictator, but the resulting republic is fairly repugnant in some of its practices. Now there are corrupt elections and a growing distrust of the "revolutionary" system.

This year we have the opportunity to see many new republics born in the middle east. When the dust settles I expect we'll see at least one true constitutional republic, and probably more. But a simple change in governance does not guarantee the well-being and peacefulness of a nation. The trouble with democracy is that the guy you do not like can win.

We in the West are fortunate enough to experience an international political wonder: A wave of revolutionary fervor is sweeping through an entire region, and nobody knows what will come of it. Some new republic may be the paragon of a new golden age of democracy. Or, sadly, the same republic could be another repugnant embarrassment.

Time will tell, but I am hoping for the best in the region. I do not have any horses in this race, and I am trying to just observe the process, to just take it in. To truly respect republican ideology, we must accept the fact that this revolutionary wave will sweep away dictators both friend and enemy to the US. Our national concerns are not important. Rather we should focus on hearing the story of how the people of these nations are deciding their own fates.

Category: politics