It was the Fourth of July, and democratically elected Egyptian government was removed by a powerful army. This was a bad thing, right? So why was I so terribly conflicted?
In the United States, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July. Because of that declaration we have a system that absolutely guarantees that the army is eternally subordinate to the vote of the people—our powerful army would not remove our president and or invalidate our congress.
Before the United States military issued me a weapon and a uniform I swore a solemn oath “to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” And that sacred document unequivocally established the process of election and the complete subordination of the military to those elected.
That same Constitution also forbade any, “establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There was also set forth an unfailing process that would assure peaceful remedies if that rule (or any other) was violated by the “government.”
One of the principal reasons for the recent protests in Egypt was the interjection of conservative religious values into people’s lives through their government, without the same peaceful remedies we enjoy.
Our Declaration of Independence states, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Until yesterday I was certain—absolutely and totally certain—that, this consent is only given by elections and “due process.”
I am not so sure now.
Now I wonder if the “consent of the governed” can be expressed in other ways—like the crowds of people who took to the streets in Egypt. Or, like the Civil Rights activists who took to the streets in the United States and marched against the elected governments of George Wallace and Herman Talmadge.
Please take the time to read the two articles linked below. They are worth more than a single reading. What do you think after reading these articles?
Daily News, “Egypt’s coup de quoil?”
Financial Times, “Egypt’s coup revives cold war moral choices”