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Anarchists, Communists, Extremists, and….Pirates?; “Democracy and the Devil you Know” May 16, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Laws and Leglslation, Politics.
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As an American I am always fascinated when speaking with my fellow countrymen (and women) who are fixated on the idea that democracy is the only and best form of government for all people.  While those who believe in the democratic process certainly believe that free will, and giving a voice to people is a central theme to any form of government, there is always a tradeoff.  As a recent example, the Arab Spring brought about numerous changes in governments throughout the Middle East.  In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was removed from power and Egypt began planning for “free and fair” elections.  While Mubarak was the ‘elected’ president for 29 years, the elections were questionable as the constitution did not allow for anyone to run against Mubarak.   Mubarak, while considered a corrupt and dictatorial leader by many, remained close with the United States who provided roughly $1.3 billion annually in aid to Egypt.  With Mubarak’s removal and a more ‘transparent, and open’ election, what has resulted?  In December 2011 the militant Muslim Brotherhood (who many consider a terrorist group) won a majority of the votes in the first election since Mubarak stepped down.  While many of my own friends applauded when Mubarak stepped down, they are now critical of the election of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In another, more humerous example on MSNBC.com, Germany’s upstart Pirate Party (you read that right) sent a strong message to the existing regime when it won 8% of the votes in a local election in the most populated state in Germany.  This marks their fourth consecutive entry into Parliament.  The Pirate Party is focused on Internet Freedom and Political Transparency.Many Americans are surprised to find that in the US Senate is a self proclaimed ‘Socialist’ in Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders.

The point is that Democracy and “giving a voice” to the people can cut both ways.  It is applauded when a leader that “we” like is elected and criticized when someone whose interests run counter to our own is elected.  This is the ongoing challenge in Iraq and Afghanistan where the US is focused on instilling democracy.  What happens when extremists are voted into office?  As the title says….”sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t”

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