Has anyone but me noticed that the people who seem most distressed over the possibility that the religious element will insert itself into the future government of Egypt are the very same ones most determined to insert religion into our own government? I’m just asking. For people who do not subscribe to any of the various creeds or sects or cults, there isn’t a hap’orth of difference between the rule of one and the rule of another.
If what is happening in Egypt were happening here, what a different attitude would be found among us! There are people who are quite fervent in their support of the mob’s dictum that Mubarak must go who will look back to the events of Kent State in the ‘70s, for instance, and believe that those children who were killed by the Guard had it coming. It IS a mob there; the term ‘mob’ does not apply only to those with whom we disagree. I personally believe the Egyptian mob is on the right side of the issues for the most part, and I believe that Mubarak has been running an increasingly repressive and tyrannical government. I also believe that we in America have been very glad to have him there, and have had him take care of a tremendous amount of dirty work that we don’t wish to be seen doing ourselves. We have been rather like Pontius Pilate in this, turning over troublemakers to someone else to handle, knowing full well that we are, in fact, sentencing them to death or torture.
I am somewhat of an admirer of Pilate, actually. He was an adept politician who knew better than to embroil himself in local issues whose outcome either way could do him no good. At some point in life, everyone of any intelligence asks Pilate’s famous question, “What is truth?” And I suspect that the majority does not want in the least to actually know the answer unless it is framed in a way that supports its pre-existing beliefs. The thing about truth is that, by its nature, it is the same no matter who is asking.
In this sense, the same is true of human or constitutional rights. If they don’t apply to everyone, then they aren’t really rights. It is not unreasonable to argue that one thing or another is not a right, but if one declares something a right, then it applies to everyone.
Nothing is easier than to feel that something which does not apply to me is less important or urgent or real than something that does. How often does one hear, or think, “They ought to do something about that,” when some injustice or need is mentioned. If THEY should, then I am pretty sure you and I should. There is no virtue whatever in sitting on one’s ass feeling indignant about things, although I hasten to add that I do it all the time. How easy it is to feel good because one’s heart is in the right place, even when one’s hands are not. So many people’s heart is in the right place in so many situations so much of the time that one is tempted to question the theory that an object can only occupy one space at on point in time. Our hearts must be expert multi-taskers! How fashionable we all must be!