It has become necessary for me to write a small treatise regarding events happening this hour in Egypt.
This is necessary because several prominent Republican politicians and short-sighted pessimists have recently stated that the United States should officially support an authoritarian regime in Cairo over one chosen by the people. This comes as no surprise from folks who might believe that the rest of the world exists to supply us with oil and cheap goods; to follow through on such advice would be nothing short of continued disaster in this century for the United States.
Slavery is over. Oppression is not acceptable. Authoritarianism is no longer tolerable.
“Stability” is not a form of government. “Stability” will not feed a family or provide jobs for the hopeless. “Stability” cannot ensure the dead a proper burial or children a proper education.
All peoples, no matter where they breathe, have the right to freedom. All peoples, no matter where they reside, have a right to choose their government–free from tyranny or oppression; free from threats or intimidation; free from outside influence or inner inhibitions.
To deny this birthright is to deny the very essence of America, and the very promise of the twenty-first century.
We may not like the outcome of the people’s choice in some nations–we may disagree vehemently with the way their customs are carried out. We may feel threatened by what they stand for or their control over resources that we covet. Yet our call as a people is not to judge, but to love. Greater men have died in protection of this truth, this fundamental acceptance; we shall not allow it to perish from this earth so easily in our lifetimes.
The people of Egypt will choose their own government. Maybe they will get it right the first time; perhaps not. If they err, maybe they will be able to change in a few years; perhaps it will take several painful decades. This timeline and these decisions are not for us to choose.
Our call is to be the example–to stand for what is right and to practice it, daily, without pretension and without attempting to impose our will on a sovereign people. The powers of governance in Egypt are not ours to decide, but rather, are “[derived]…from the consent of the governed.”
We shall not toss aside the patient suffering of a people for our own material benefit. Egyptian problems have Egyptian solutions; when all people realize that they truly hold the authority, then we shall move towards a more secure world and a more just planet.
The world will not exist in “stability” until all men and women are free. On this day, then, we stand with the people of Egypt.