Supporting Democracy

Recently, ordinary folks have been taking to the streets and getting pretty rowdy around the world. First, we had the unrest in Tunisia, which led to the ousting of the government of president Abidine Ben Ali amid charges of corruption, lack of political freedoms, food shortages, and record unemployment numbers. Then the people of Egypt took to the streets to give Hosni Mubarak the boot for similar complaints. The spirit of dictator bashing soon spread to Libya, where the bloody rule of Moammar Gadhafi is slipping away.

It’s not just in Muslim countries – reports began to leak out today that there were anti-government protests in North Korea back on Valentine’s Day, and even right here in the USA, there are demonstrators taking to the streets in Wisconsin and Ohio to prevent the loss of collective bargaining rights for government workers.

These demonstrations have been pretty heart-warming to folks who love political freedom, democracy, and seeing the will of the people coming to pass. It reminds me a bit of the riotous beginnings of our own democracy, complete with civil unrest, vandalism, and the eventual overthrow of a leader who was more interested in lining his pockets than in giving the people good governance. Seems like a perfect photo and sound bite opportunity for politicians in America, to point out how much they love democracy and support those around the world who are fighting to make the common man heard. In fact, it seems like a perfect time to recall that the US revolution wouldn’t have gone so well without the support of the French.

So where are the statements of support from all the Joe Average, flag waving, freedom and democracy loving Conservatives out there?

If we had any sort of special effects budget, you’d hear the sound of crickets right now…

There aren’t any. In fact, the Conservative response to this wave of protests against oppressive regimes (and yes, that includes the Governors of Wisconsin and Ohio) has ranged from concerns about how it will affect gas prices to outright derision for the protesters and support for their ousted dictators. You see, the Conservative platform is not really about democracy, or family values, or taking the US back to a fictitious 1950s lifestyle – it’s about making sure that nothing interrupts the flow of money to the deepest pockets in the world. The very same people who claim to care so much about the democratic process and the ability of the people to hold their leaders accountable, are now criticizing the Obama administration for not taking a more active role in determining who will fill the shoes of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gadhafi and the rest. Wouldn’t that be the responsibility of the ordinary people of those nations? Shouldn’t we support the will of the people being done? Instead, they are worried that the new leadership in those countries might stop being the fuel tank of the planet, and maybe finally get tired of the bullshit that is the Israeli situation and do something about it. This is probably the most telling example of what Conservative politicians actually represent that has come to light in the last 20 years.

So, the next time you see a candidate claiming that he supports the worker, the ordinary man, and freedom and justice for all, ask him where he was in the early days of 2011, when the Arab world was tossing out its hegemony, and Union workers in the heartland were struggling to keep their rights. Ask him if he supported the rights of those ordinary people.

And then prepare to be lied to.

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