Another fork in the road

Egyptians recently threw off one dictator; did they just install another?

Americans had to fight for our freedom.

We hope the Egyptians don’t have to – but we hope they want freedom bad enough to.

The Islamist president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, has forced the people’s hand by essentially making himself a dictator, and setting up a Dec. 15 vote in which he no doubt hopes the Egyptian people will sign their slave papers.

Morsi granted himself sweeping new dictator-type powers recently, and had a “constitution” drawn up to memorialize them. He wants it rubber stamped in the Dec. 15 vote – ironically enough on the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Morsi had already assumed legislative powers, and recently declared his decisions were above review by the courts. When Morsi supporters threatened the Supreme Constitutional Court, the judges went on strike.

As tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets, they no doubt fear that, as one writer put it, Morsi “will simply end up putting an Islamist beard” on the old Hosni Muburak model of authoritarian rule.

And yes, that would be worse. Sharia law, propounded by Morsi and his radical Muslim Brotherhood friends, would drop a veil of tyranny and misogyny on Egypt, and could make it a fearsome enemy of Israel, rather than a mere unenthusiastic neighbor.

Does the U.S. really want another Iran in the area?

We’re dumbfounded that the Obama administration hasn’t vociferously supported the freedom protesters in Egypt. The administration likewise had failed the freedom fighters in Iran a few years back. What a tragic waste of an opportunity to press for freedom.

We hope the Egyptian people press on alone. They certainly seem to be: Morsi was said to flee his palace this week when protests came too close for comfort.

Our forebears felt obliged to fight for freedom after tasting it here and then having the shackles of serfdom placed on them. We hope the Egyptian path to freedom is much less traumatic and bloody.

But we at least hope they’ve sipped enough freedom in the past couple of years to savor its taste.

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Rick McKee Editorial Cartoon