…I’m not a total idiot.
Yes, I have shifted a bit left in my outlook over the last 20 some odd years, but I also really had nowhere to go on the right side of things given where I started. I’d actually put myself pretty smack in middle of the center, but there seems to not be much in the way of the middle ground right now. My ownership of tie-dyes and Tevas seems to have thrown me over the edge. (And resulted in some incorrect assumptions of lesbianism, but that’s another post.)
That all being said and out of the way…
I realize that Mubarak continuing to be in power in Egypt is a good thing for the United States – not just because he is an ally, but for no other reason that “the devil you know”… I really do understand that.
Yes, there is probably a decent percentage of Egyptians that are totally OK with him continuing to be in power. I understand that as well. (I say probably because I don’t have any polling figures, and I have to assume that not everyone hates him.) That being said, I don’t think there is a bogeyman behind every door should he either step down or be voted out of office. Yes, there *could* be, but just because something could happen doesn’t mean it *will* happen.
However, given that there are people of all ages* out there risking everything to make their voices heard – I’d say there are some real grievances that need to be addressed, and quickly. Yes, a lot of the issues are economic in nature, and those can’t be fixed by any one person, but part of the price of being the guy in charge is that you get the blame along with the accolades. (Had the US economy been going great guns in 2008, I think the Republicans would have had a better chance at staying in the White House.)
I know my life is nothing like that in other countries. But being a big sentimental pile of mush – I’d like for people to be able to wake up wherever they are and even if they don’t *like* their government, they feel they can say so, do so safely, be heard, and see change as a result.
But what the hell do I know.
*For all I’ve heard of the protests being “youth oriented”, I’ve seen a LOT of people over 30 out there.
I’ll admit, I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around what’s going on in Egypt. Intellectually, I get it – the very short version is that people are sick and tired of being sick and tired – and they’re doing something about it.
Given that we have an opportunity to throw some bum out on a national level every 2 years, it’s hard to conceive of being stuck with the same guy at the top for 30 years, and have no opportunity to say, “No, this isn’t working for us, we need someone different.” Being under Emergency Law for 30 years because “the bad guys might get a foothold” has to lose it’s shine after a very short period of time. It has to become obvious after a while that there isn’t much of an emergency other than the guy in charge might lose his job.
Finally having the guts to lean out the window and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” – I get that. People can only take so much. A very, very large chunk of the country taking to the streets – something they’re not even allowed to do in the first place. Putting themselves up against the police force. Putting themselves up against the army. (Which seems to have taken the position of protecting the demonstrators from the police from a few things I’ve seen on Twitter.) Having most of your channels of communication to the outside world completely cut off.
I think where I keep getting stuck is that these aren’t just little isolated incidents. These people are telling their leader to get out all across the country.
I know the beginnings of our own country weren’t that far off – but I also wasn’t there, so I have trouble visualizing it.
My day has been, “Make some breakfast, do some dishes, take care of some bills, watch the All Star game, tend to some of my Avon order.” Pretty mundane about the house things. Things that probably happen in households all over the world.
I’d say in Egypt right now, the similarities end right after breakfast. See who is taking the next shift on neighborhood patrol to keep any opportunistic asshat looters out of the neighborhood. Make sure they’re armed, maybe send some tea & sandwiches along. Grab the kids and head out to the demonstrations so Dads, Brothers & Uncles can come home and get some rest. Pick jaw up off floor when Mubarak says, “I fired the government, and got a Vice President for ya!” and mutter, “You have GOT to be shitting me.”
I know I am so insanely lucky to live in a country where if I think the guys in charge are doing a bad job, all I have to do is march myself to the Elementary school up the street and vote for someone I think can do better, and I don’t have to risk life, limb or imprisonment to do it.
So – to the Egyptians risking everything out there to see Mubarak leave power: Good luck, and I hope in the end Egypt is a better place for ALL of your citizens.