|Mohamed Morsi speaks to followers. He was elected Egypt's president.|
THE SITUATION: Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi has defeated Ahmed Shafik, prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, in Egypt's presidential runoff.
THE PROVOCATION: Those who complain about having no acceptable option in American politics should take heed. This is what having no acceptable option looks like.
One party represents policies that resulted in the overthrow of the previous government; the other represents religious extremism. One party military rule; the other, Islamic law.
Here in the U.S., religion and the war-mongering are all neatly tied up together. The Republican Party represents both religious primacy and military dominance. There was no populist revolution, but voters certainly rejected the policies of George W. Bush by electing Barack Obama in 2008. The election of Mitt Romney would represent the return to those policies:
- Trickle-down economics.
- A headlong rush to augment an already bloated military budget.
- Deep and - in some cases Draconian - cuts to essential domestic programs.
- Subsidies to Big Oil and the Palin Doctrine of "Drill, Baby, Drill."
Moreover, a Romney victory would also be a triumph of outdated religious dogma over policies based on science and diversity.
In Egypt, the presidency is largely a ceremonial office. Here, it's not.
|Members of the Muslim Brotherhood.|
In Egypt, secular reformers failed to make it past the first round of elections. The eventual runoff contenders:
- Shafik, who represented a return to the outdated policies of a dictatorship established 30 years earlier.
- Morsi, who symbolized the calcified dogmatism of a religion founded 16 centuries before that. Neither is any way to govern a country.
Yet Romney and his supporters represent both in a single package. Sure, the religion is different, but the dogmatic bigotry is the same. In 2007, for instance, Morsi was a fervent supporter of Muslim Brotherhood proposals that would have banned women and non-Muslims from seeking the presidency. Romney, for his part, would ban same-sex couples from marrying. What do these policies have in common (other than being overtly discriminatory)? Both are based on religious doctrines.
When Morsi's victory was announced today, however, his supporters could be heard shouting, "Morsi, Morsi! Down, down with military rule!" No such chants will greet Romney on his election, because Romney, like the defeated Shafik, is the champion of the bloated American military-industrial complex. With Iran continuing its intransigence over nuclear inspections, one scarcely has to ask whether Romney would start a war on the pretext of denying the Iranians nuclear capability. The answer is obvious.
He certainly has plenty of motives. Among them are the so-called World War II model that insists a war can kick-start the economy ... never mind that massive overspending during a far more recent war (in Iraq) helped grind our economy to a screeching halt. Then there's the massive profit that corporations such as Halliburton, Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin stand to gain from such an endeavor. And remember, corporations are people. Romney could be expected to look with great compassion on their "plight."
We might wring our hands now that an Islamist holds the highest office in Egypt, but the consequences of that election would likely pale in comparison with the fallout from a Romney presidency.
When the military and monetary power are concentrated in the hands of religious conservatives, no good ever comes of it.