While watching the people of Egypt win their peaceful revolution Thursday, one song was playing on a loop in my mind.
Freedom! While the people of Egypt have a long road ahead of them, they did it! They won freedom from a dictator who has ruled their world for over thirty years. But the real lesson here is that they did it through peaceful protests – no “second amendment remedies” necessary.
To those who suggest we might be able to follow their lead here to get what we want, I wish it were that simple. We have a deeply divided citizenry here. And so much hate is directed at one another that we’d never get to the consensus that the Egyptians enjoyed – united against the regime who kept them from freedom.
Unfortunately, too, guns are embedded in our society. And the nuts on the right who, for the most part, are hoarding the weapons and ammunition, truly believe that they’re necessary to “protect them” from the government.
We are truly a nation in the terrible twos. Still in our second century, perhaps we need to go through adolescence before we can act like adults.
Meanwhile, I’m sure the oddsmakers in Vegas have come up with a line on what nation is next. When asked on Thursday, I said
“Iran” – without equivocation. The population is similar demographically to Egypt – young, educated and secular, and they’ve been simmering since their last uprising following their stolen presidential elections in 2009. Already reports are coming today about the people in the streets, and the regime’s efforts to quell the crowds.
The big question is whether the people will prevail this time, or not.
Here at home, President Obama continues moving further and further to the right. Congressman Kucinich said that Obama should be challenged from the left, and I agree. Kucinich is fighting to retain a seat in Congress (and we do need him there), so who should it be? Russ Feingold? Perhaps, though some worry that a Jew could never win… but they said that about a black man too.
But today, Obama’s budget is released, and Paul Krugman put it best in today’s blog:
The New Obama Budget
There was an old Washingtoon, probably from the mid-1980s, in which Democrats meet to plan their new centrist strategy — which consists of tax cuts for the rich, reduced spending on the needy, and big defense budgets. “But how is this different from the Republicans?” asks one member of the group. “Compassion,” replies the leader. “We care about the victims of our policies.”
That’s pretty much my initial reaction to what we know so far about the Obama budget. It’s much less awful than the Republican proposal, but it moves in the same direction: listening to the administration, you’d think that discretionary spending, not health care, is at the heart of our long-run deficit problems — and you’d also think that the job of rescuing the economy was done, with unemployment still at 9 percent.
It could be worse — the GOP proposal is — but it’s hardly something to cheer about.
Perhaps I should just get back in bed and pull the covers over my head. Or not. The world keeps turning, whether we like it or not.
You see, the alternative is even worse, as evidenced by this weekend’s CPAC convention. The thought of those people taking over the country is enough to make any disgusted liberal get off his ass in a bid for the lesser of two evils. I hope that the teabaggers continue fighting the mainstream Republicans and splinter off with their own third party candidate… and that the progressives do the same. Let’s get some real differences between the parties and get back to doing what’s right for the country instead of having two sides of the same coin just playing politics!
Dave Weigel did yeoman’s duty once again at CPAC, and he’ll join us today to fill us in on some of the highlights.
And in hour two, Nicole Belle joins us from her perch at Crooks and Liars for our weekly Fools on the Hill segment, recapping the Sunday talking head shows. Unfortunately, Nicole suffered a slight mishap on a romantic pre-Valentines Day weekend with her husband… so, she’ll go along for the ride with me today, discussing these segments:
And, time permitting, I may just have to call my new friend Marwa Rakha in Egypt to see how things are going in the early post-Mubarak days.