Monday, January 31, 2005

What Iraquis and Americans Have in Common

Well, I might be eating my words, but I don’t think I’ll mind at this point.

I have been, for a long time, opposed to the Iraq war. I’ve not trusted President Bush’s motives, I’ve doubted the long-term value of being there, I’ve questioned the methods being used there.

But hearing the news, and reading the reports on the election have renewed my hope, and reshaped my perspectives. It might well be that this experiment could work in the long run, after all, in spite of all my still-nagging doubts.

And, as an additional note, it made me reflect on our nation as well. And on our own elections. How many of us would walk miles to a polling place, especially if we knew that we were risking our lives? How many of us would volunteer to staff a voting booth with death and bombing threats hovering over our heads? How many of us even bother to vote in non-presidential elections? How many of us even study up on the candidates and the issues?

In a lot of ways, we’ve become complacent, even cynical.

We’ve heard a lot about the patriotic service being given by the troops. We’ve heard of flag-wavers here in the country being called patriotic. I think that the most patriotic act that an American civilian can do is to cast an educated ballot.

Now, it’s still going to be tough for the Iraqis. This is a major landmark for them, but it’s still a landmark. They have to move beyond this and establish a government that works. One that can quell the violent rebels, and encourage the peaceful ones. One that can punish terrorists, yet preserve freedom.

And in America, we have to do the same thing. We have to establish government that works. A quote I heard once, “The only way for evil to win is for good people to do nothing.”

That means voting.

Mark Hansen

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend serving there who said what you don't see on the news is all the average citizens who are relieved that Saddam isn't in power anymore. Yesterday's elections prove that in a dramatic way.

    Our motives for going in were HIGHLY suspect. In spite of that, I'm glad for what has resulted. There's a large number of Iraqis in Lincoln, NE and they have been on the news over the last 2 years talking about brothers, sisters, fathers, cousins and friends who were summarily executed by Saddam. The guy was terrible.



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