Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't Get Fooled Again

I got a little chuckle from someone who described a possible GOP presidential pairing of Sarah Palin and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as the "Twisted Sister" ticket.

Well, President Hosni Mubarak has gone, not to the next life, but towards the scrap heap of history, leaving office as Egypt's president a full day after having been convinced by his son to NOT leave. I looked it up, and President M. was born in 1928, making him a minimum of 82 years old. Did you ever notice that he never (his entire LIFE!) had a single gray hair? I thought for a second that his departure might ruin the male hair coloring industry. Admittedly, there could be a downturn in that part of the world, though I think most men there feel just fine about going gray. In this country there's a role model who should keep the shelves full of whatever they call the stuff these days - Mitt Romney, who's in his early sixties but only shows a bit of gray around the temples. There are others, mostly Hollywood types, who might do as well, but Romney figures to be on TV just about every day for the next year plus, so he gets the nod as dark hair successor to Reagan. What is it the Bible records - "Vanity of vanities" - something like that?

OK, now let's be serious. Egypt got what no one even knew was in the works a few months ago - a shot at democracy. Perhaps ousting the old tyrant will turn out to be the easiest part of the process. They could tell you all about that in France, Iran, Italy, Haiti, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, China and even Russia. Moving forward to something better while counting on the unselfishness of those who hold temporary power can be tricky. But hey, the Czechs, Filipinos, Slovaks, and some others could tell you that it can be done. Our own country did something similar, though different in some important ways, too. The goal is, of course, getting what you wanted when your necks were on the line, and not some watered-down imitation that leaves you with the refrain from The Who, from whom this week's title is borrowed.
Right now, the army is in charge. Normally, that's not the best way to begin, but this group showed themselves worthy of a little trust when they showed considerable patience with the original Cairo protesters. The legislature's been dissolved, also not ideal, but it was probably full of Mubarak suck ups anyway.
There are some other good signs. The revolutionary use of technology means it could be done again, and that the Egyptians are no clueless rabble up for sale to the biggest talker. The country isn't at war with anyone, The local group with the scariest name, the Muslim Brotherhood, may not be as benign as Boy Scouts, but they officially gave up arms decades ago and also stayed out of this latest crisis. The new guys will, we hope, realize that our old friendship with the dictator doesn't mean we can't make new friends if our interests don't clash too violently.
No, there are no guarantees here. The Israelis will no doubt step up their spying on Egypt and the guys with the petrodollars might be reluctant to share any secrets they night have, but nothing here prohibits the country's moving forward to try to give a little more opportunity to their poorest, least free citizens. Good luck to them.


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