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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:34 AM
Original message
Democracy does not always lead to equality...
Edited on Thu Dec-01-11 09:36 AM by MineralMan
The Egyptian elections just finished have produced the results that everyone should have expected. The Islamic Brotherhood and an even more conservative Islamic party have taken about 60% of the seats in the election. What that means is that the Egyptian people have voted for Sharia law and a government run on Islamic principles. Here in the US, we have a hard time understanding the dominance of Islam in the Middle East, so we're sometimes surprised when the people in countries there elect Islamists to run their country.

We shouldn't be. An extremely large majority of Egyptians are devout Muslims. It's not like the US, where no single religion with a unified culture is dominant. Christianity may be the majority religion here, but Christianity is splintered into thousands of denominations, and there is no central core of Christianity that represents the social views of a majority of Americans. That is not the case in Egypt or most other Islamic nations. Islam does not have the deep divisions that Christianity has. There are sects of Islam, but the disagreements between them are not as broad as with Christian denominations.

The Egyptian people demanded democratic elections. They got them, and voted for an Islamic government. We should not be surprised at that outcome. It was inevitable. We misunderstand the social structures in that part of the world, and we do so to our detriment. Our expectations that democratic elections will somehow end with an open, secular society in Middle Eastern countries are misplaced.

Egypt is what Egypt is. We should not expect drastic changes. The new government will not suddenly produce an open, secular society. That will simply not happen.
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bowens43 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. Democracy almost NEVER leads to equality
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."

B. Franklin
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libinnyandia Donating Member (526 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
2. The Shiite - Sunni division is significant, though I guess that is
outside Egypt.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. So it goes. Democracy is really messy, and as we saw with
the two elections of GWB, self destructive.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. It certainly can be just that.
I'm not arguing that point at all. I'm just speaking about those who believed, for some reason, that there would be a different result in Egypt.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
17. With all the talk about spreading democracy, the US did what
it could to ensure an outcome friendly to US and multinational corporations.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. Democracy certainly hasn't led to equality here in the USA..
I can't imagine why anyone would think democracy would lead to equality in Egypt.

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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. I agree, but many people had unrealistic expectations of
Egypt following the uprising there. That is what I was addressing. Democracy only means that the majority gets to set the rules. It's far from a perfect system, even when modified into a representative republic. Frankly, though, it's pretty hard to conceive of a workable alternative to a democracy-based government that would produce better results in a large nation.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
5. A similar outcome would happen in Syria if Assad is removed
The Sunni's would take over from the Alawites. Christians would be trampled in the rush to Sunni Orthodoxy.

The splits between the Sunni and Shiite are similar to the splits between Roman Catholic and Orthodox or between Roman Catholic and Protestants.

In Egypt, there are also Salafists, who are influenced by Wahhabism.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yes. There are divisions in Islam, but nothing like the
extensive denominationalism and sectarianism of Christianity.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
9. Here, our religion is money and we are allowed to vote for the people who have it.
Or, we are allowed to vote for the candidates that the people with money pay to "represent" us.

Looked at from that angle, Egypt is more "democratic" than we are.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Oh, we can vote for others, and do sometimes. We just don't
most of the time. That's on us. We can change that if we want to badly enough. That's my goal.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Which is why I vote issues, rather than politician or party.
Voting in more politicians whose allegiance is to those who pay to get them elected just perpetuates the corruption no matter how "liberal" they profess to be.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. That's why I'm involved in Democratic politics at the local level.
In a caucus state, like Minnesota, even the precinct level has some influence on who the candidates will be for legislative and other elections. It's quite easy to be a district and state convention delegate, too. There are ways for individuals to work in the process of selecting candidates. Sadly, very few people get involved at that level. They should, especially in what is essentially a two-party system.
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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
11. True, but aren't the countries with the most equitable distributions of income are all democracies.
Sweden
Norway
Czech Republic
Slovakia
Austria
Denmark
Finland
Germany
Japan
South Korea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incom...

Democracy would seem to be a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for equality.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Yes, but there are many varieties of democracy-based
government. Democratic Socialism seems to produce the most equitable results, I think.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Those countries are mostly small, and they each have a single, predominant ethnic group
Minorities, such as Saami in Sweden, Turks in Germany, or Ainu in Japan do not necessarily share in the equality.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. What you say is true. Where there is a massively dominant group,
minority groups often don't realize the benefits. I think that's true in pretty much all government systems. Maybe it's human nature. I don't know.
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