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Charles Shaughnessy Democracy Arab Spring repost

From Charles Shaughnessy's Twitter account at Charles Shaughnessy's Personal Twitter Account

"Arab Spring has many parallels to 1776. Constitutional Democracy does not come quickly or easily. We must tacitly support and encourage it."

C_Shaughnessy (Charles Shaughnessy) tweeted at 0900 Tuesday May 17, 2011:


  1. the emergence of a new democracy is always associated with many difficulties. Everyone has the right to democracy and freedom, so they should be supported in their efforts. As it is already written in 1776 in the declaration:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    I hope and wish you to know, because the hope dies at last.

  2. Arab spring...democratic uprisings independently arise and spread across the Arab world...a spinoff of the invasion of Iraq...the flowering of western-style democracies in the Middle East. A way to make Osama bin-Laden an afterthought...

    Okay, I'm not going to argue about Arab Spring (even though it appears to be something that was forecast in 2005 while George W. Bush was president, but Obama gets the joy of dealing with it in 2011). But the whole idea of "Constitutional Democracy"--I would love to know where such a government exists, because it certainly does not exist here in the United States. We are a republic, not a democracy--at least that's what it states in the Constitution (Article IV, Section 4: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government"). At the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers deliberately set up a system of government in which the common man had little voice--a representative government in which Senators were indirectly elected by state legislatures (changed with 17th Amendment in 1913), and the President is still indirectly elected through an Electoral College. In some ways, what these protesters are trying to achieve through Arab Spring is to provide even more direct participation than we have in the United States under the present Constitution.

    Plus, we really shouldn't get too excited if it takes these protests a while to effect change. After all, the first attempt by the United States to set up a system of government was the Articles of Confederation, drafted between June 1776 and November 1777 and finally ratified in March 1781--only to be replaced by the U.S. Constitution seven years later. In a way, then, what the Founding Fathers did at the Constitutional Convention is overthrow the existing government, yet we celebrate their accomplishments every September 17 (the date the Constitutional Convention adjourned after drafting and approving the document).

    Off to ponder the meaning of 1776...

  3. @Kerstin: Your excerpt from the Declaration of Independence hits on the essence of what is happening, as the people of the Middle East are rebelling against what they are perceiving as despotism. They way they are doing this, however, is more like what actually was happening in the British North American colonies in the spring of 1775--events that led up to the adoption of the Declaration in 1776. In any case, the world is indeed changing before our eyes, and it is exciting to see people starting to challenge existing governments and question if these governments are responsive to the needs of the people.

    Of course, if the new governments that emerge after Arab Spring turn out to be anti-American...well, all bets are off on the U.S. government supporting them or providing them with financial assistance. After all, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, our revolution is okay, and their revolution is not--especially if their revolution is not in the best interests of our nation.

  4. It has been amazing to watch the effects of Arab Spring over the past years and in particular over the past months. To see people in this volatile part of the world rising up to secure more freedom is truly inspiring, but also heartbreaking in that tragedies must accompany their efforts. As we watch from the comforts of a land whose people enjoy so much freedom, it reminds us that freedom is not free. We truly have been blessed by those who with great sacrifice have secured the freedoms for which we are the benefactors. As people who have been so blessed, it behooves us to support such freedoms for all humankind who are willing to stand up and demand those freedoms for themselves. I support and encourage their efforts. I look forward to seeing the outcome of a people whose children will be blessed by their sacrifices.

  5. I'm listening to President Obama speaking live on this issue right now. I applaud him for his tacit support and encouragement.


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