I’ve been meaning to type this post up since Thanksgiving when Mohamed Morsi made his power grab. I’m ashamed to confess, I’ve been procrastinating on writing it–just like Morsi’s been procrastinating on his promise to return democracy to the Egyptian people. But maybe we should cut him slack, just like I should cut myself slack for not writing? After all, it’s only been two weeks. This blog isn’t going to die just because I take a break for a while. And Egyptian democracy isn’t going to die just because it’s been temporarily suspended? Or will it?
They say that politics is about compromising. We live in a world where our commitments sometimes have to give way to reality. And yet, if we’re not diligent in maintaining the things we care most about, those things decay and disappear. One day of not going to the gym won’t instantly shrivel up all of the gains one’s made over a year of consistent exercise, but a day can turn into another day–a couple breaks and soon you’re looking at a week. A week turns into month. Soon, the goal is so far gone that you’ve given up completely, blobulizing in your cubicles. So how much compromise is too much compromise? When autocratic rule is involved, probably not much.
But here’s part of the problem: Mohamed Morsi is not a compromiser. His unwillingness to compromise his principles led the elected president and leader of the Muslim brotherhood to underhaul Egyptian democracy and re-draft the Constitution to make it more Islamist. And he’s unlikely to back down. Some oppose the ruler–people have been protesting outside his palace since he consolidated power turning himself into what people have been calling a “new pharaoh”, but Morsi claims that 90% of Egyptians are on his side. To the Muslim brotherhood, it seems that democracy was the compromise, and perhaps a compromise that gave too much away to the secularists–for democracy requires pluralism, and religion demands unity. Could an Islamist Constitution bring both?
Perhaps it was naive to think that Egypt was committed as a nation to democracy. For people who are truly committed try (as much as possible) to avoid having to compromise…