The Frozen American
On June 30th, riots broke out in Egypt on the 1 year anniversary of President Mohamed Morsi’s inauguration. Millions took to the streets. On July 1st, protestors sacked the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. On July 3rd 16-18 people were killed by gunmen at a pro-Morsi rally while more than 200 were wounded. On the same day the Egyptian military, headed by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, enacted a coup d’état and wrestled the presidency away from Morsi. Since then the country has been more or less in a state of limbo as fights continue to break out in the streets. Egypt’s future is uncertain through the fog of revolution. Main reasons for the protest against Morsi stem from a collective uneasiness with his increasingly authoritarian manner. That he was pushing an unwanted Islamist agenda and suppressing secular contenders.
It is hard to look at the unrest in one country without thinking about what is happening in your own. Our Internal Revenue System admittedly evidenced bias toward Tea Party programs along with targeting political entities with keywords such as “freedom”, “constitution”, and “Patriot”. Our Justice Department seized without warrant over 200 records from the A.P. It has been revealed that the NSA with cooperation from internet companies under PRISM has been amassing massive data records of private emails, messages, and more. We live in the shadow of an administration that does as it pleases. Of a government that knows of no self-control.
It’s funny when you read or hear about tyrannical operations occurring in other countries. You say to yourself, “How can these people tolerate living under these conditions? How much of this can they take?” In a country like America it is radically different so you can’t help but wonder these things.
At least it was supposed to be radically different.
But this is the country of America no longer. It is the land of the shackled and home of the afraid.
And now we start to realize why the people don’t do something about it. It’s because we’re constantly being reminded of how powerless we are. What can we possibly do about the government keeping tabs on us? How can we stop drones from vaporizing armed suspects without consideration of a fair trial?
The Egyptians response is to take to the streets. Ours is to sign an online petition and feel good about ourselves that we even went to that pathetic, meaningless effort.
Another reason why we do nothing, perhaps more important than the prior: We don’t really care. As long as no one takes away our cell phones, as long as no one cancels our board meetings, cuts our electricity, sucks the gas out of our cars, drain the beers from our glasses. As long as no one “messes” with us. Why should we bother?
That’s not what the Egyptians thought on June 30th. On June 30th they weren’t concerned about who liked their Facebook status, whether or not there was traffic on the interstate, how to keep cool during the hot summer, a celebrity’s baby, texting their buddies to meet up. On June 30th they were a lot more like a mob in Boston 243 years before them. They were like a mob that was tired of unfair taxes and the influence of a monarch who thought himself far above those who he was ruling.
But the Egyptians lack a vital component to revolution that our ancestors had: direction. Our ancestors not only sought freedom, they sought for an established freedom that would never again suffer the evils of tyranny. They sought for a future for their children. To be a shining hill within a world of darkness.
Egypt knows what it wants. It wants to drink the sweet nectar of liberty but it has no plan on getting there. It has no orchestrated effort on creating a lasting, self-sufficient, freedom-driven society. Without that, Egypt faces a very arduous road to where it wants to be. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying to get there. For that reason alone their efforts are commendable. I fear though that their revolution isn’t as much resembling our own as it does the French Revolution. If that is the case then they still have a very long way to go.
America is on the road back to tyranny. Back to the way things were.
We are a frozen people.
Frozen in our luxuriant existence.
Frozen in fear.
Even worse, frozen in indifference.