Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Comparison Between the Beginnings of Democracy in the US and Iraq

History is important to study so to better understand current events, where we are now and where we are heading. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Therefore, I want to examine the beginnings of these United States of America and compare that with the situation in Iraq.

During the American Revolution, not every colonist supported the cause of independence. Only one third supported the Americans. Another one third didn't have a preference, and finally one third supported Britain. I don't know how they got these numbers, I guess a Gallop poll. Obviously in Iraq, not every Iraqi supports democracy, and many are opposed. But if unanimous consent was required, the United States of America never would have been established. To expect unanimous support would be absurd.

America didn't gain independence alone. The US had help from France; which many might cringe at remembering, but it is true. Without France's support, we would be speaking British now, and not English. For example, France supplied naval support, without which we never would have won. Take the final major battle, the Battle of Yorktown. The French cut off the British's support from sea. Presently, Iraq is getting support from the United States, an outside country. So it would be unfair to say that a country must gain freedom all by itself. However, the colonies weren't liberated, they provided the majority of contribution in their fight for independence.

Another important point is that the US didn't blossom overnight. We didn't get everything right in the beginning. We even had a failed constitution. Remember the Articles of Confederation, total flop. It created a national government that was way to weak, fraught with many problems. It took two tries to get a government that would work. So, even if the present constitution in Iraq should fail, that doesn't mean it's the end of democracy there. If that was the case, the US would have failed too. So we should cut Iraq some slack, give them a learning curve that we got.

Again, the US wasn't, and indeed still isn't, perfect overnight. In our beginning, everyone was not equal under the law. Only a very small percentage of the population could vote. Our government didn't trust its people, and so set up the electoral college. And we can't forget slavery. No, the US wasn't perfect when it was founded, it's taken several hundred years to even get close to real equality under the law, and we're still not there. So, let us not judge Iraq for not going far enough to ensure equality, as we ourselves took a long time and are still not perfect. At least Iraq doesn't allow slavery. Indeed, a larger percentage of Iraqis voted or were allowed to in their first elections then did Americans in their nation's first elections. Not that having a lot of people vote ensures that a democracy will succeed..

Additionally, the US had a Civil War, pretty bloody if I remember. And the reason we didn't have one sooner was because we just put off addressing issues such as slavery to avoid splitting the nation in the beginning, like it or not. I happen to think that was for the best, the lesser of two evils. So, if Iraq has a Civil War, we had a violent one ourselves. Now, during our civil war we didn't have foreign troops helping, so that difference should be pointed out.

I hope this helps illuminate the situation in Iraq. I tried to state just the facts and not opinions, to let you decide what to think. There are several similarities between the United States' beginnings and Iraq's beginnings, which warrant examination. It is important to remember the US took a while to develop our democratic society, and we should not expect democracy in Iraq to happen overnight without any difficulty.


Anonymous Jason Napoleon Bonapart said...

I wonder if it 220 years the New Iraqis will think of the US as we currently do of the French? I hope not- it'd mean that they were the new "World Police"- Please New Iraq, come help us solve our problem, we're too stupid to do it ourselves! And that the US was just a bunch of ninnies that refuse to get involved in anything, and only talk bad about the New Iraq. I think the former French (and Gaulians) would be insulted at the present day France!

Fri Aug 25, 09:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Gregarious said...

I hate to correct your choice of a name, but Napoleon Bonaparte came after the American Revolution. It was like Louis the XVI or maybe XV who lended his support. Look where that got the French monarchy. On the chopping block, that's where. Let's hope this doesn't lead to the downfall of our American government.

Sat Aug 26, 12:59:00 AM EDT  

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