Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Tea Party Comes To Egypt

In our democracy, we have the Tea Party. In dictatorships, the people rise up in the streets and demand the leader of the country leave. The common thread is freedom to assemble and freedom of speech. In the case of Egypt, the people took the freedom in a show of strength that caught President Mubarak and the United States flat-footed.

Just as the politicians in our country acted as little dictators towards the people of America - by simply turning a deaf ear to cries of stopping the government bailouts and huge entitlements being shoved down our throats - a true dictator, Mubarak, had to accept that his time is over. Mubarak issued a statement that he will not run for re-election. This is not a strong enough response for those in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria but it is a start. A beginning to the end of the Mubarak era. And, it is a strong acknowledgement that his son, Mubarak's successor of choice, will not rule when the time comes.

Egypt has no foundation or past of democracy. It is quite amazing that only days after the protests began, President Mubarak announced he will not run for re-election and open a door for a graceful exit. It is a missed opportunity that President Obama was weak and slow in his response to the Egypt protests. Obama proved once again when he could have come out strongly in favor of the people, he chose the corrupt dictator, and then pivoted when it looked like the dictator would fall and feigned support of the people. Egypt is a dicey situation, to be sure, as it is the country with the largest Arab population in the Middle East and we have a long history of aid and support for Mubarak. But, Obama should have been strong enough to tell Mubarak it is time for him to move towards ending his era, before he did.

Obama said to the young people in Egypt: "We hear your voices". Too bad he and his fellow Democrats ignored the voices of the Tea Party movement until it was impossible to continue to do so. The Tea Party participants were mocked, bullied and harassed by those who sought to marginalize them. He may not have ignored the voices of the young people in the streets protesting for freedom and a better life, but he certainly didn't step up until he appeared to have the cover of Mubarak leaving.

Americans have been stranded in Egypt and unable to get out. Why has it taken the U.S. so long to get them out? Isn't this the administration that promised to be so prompt with emergency responses?

The U.S. State Department intends to evacuate approximately 900 Americans from Egypt to “safe havens” today, more than one-third of the 2,400 people who have contacted the department seeking evacuation assistance, the agency said today.

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