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Walk like an Egyptian

Posted By Ilana Mercer On 12/06/2012 @ 8:24 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

This just in: The Secret Service, backed by the District of Columbia Police Department, is battling thousands of protesters outside President Barack Obama’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue “palace,” prompting the socialist “leader to leave the building. Officers fired tear gas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Obama’s November … decree that expanded his powers. ‘The people want the downfall of the regime,’ the demonstrators chant. ‘Our marches are against tyranny and the constitutional … decree, and we won’t retract our position until our demands are met.’”

The protests against Mr. Obama never happened. The train of abuses and usurpations did. I switched the lead characters in a Reuters lede describing the ongoing unrest in Egypt. I substituted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s name with Obama’s.

In the very week American reporters went apoplectic over the issuance of a decree, by President Morsi foisting on Egyptians a referendum over a 234-article constitution – America’s Dear Leader lunged for yet more dictatorial powers.

While Morsi was making his moves, Obama was demanding “executive authorization to override the debt ceiling at any time and by any amount he desires.” (A formality, surely, as the U.S. president will invariably get a confetti of funny-money from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. What’s another trillion or two between friends?)

An admirably rebellious people, Egyptians distrust decrees from their dictators; Americans don’t even blink as their top dogs issue one after the other. These diktats we call executive orders.

To pass a rights-violating draft constitution, Morsi attempted to force a Faustian bargain on his people, sidelining a branch of government (the judiciary) and stacking another (parliament). For that, he came under attack.

“Morsi had gone too far,” equivocated Nancy Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers. “He’s not representing all of Egypt, but instead just his core constituency, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

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And who, pray tell, does Mr. Obama represent? Like President Morsi, who was also democratically elected, Obama does the bidding of a majority that wants to sock it to a minority. In Obama’s case, the minority includes a select segment of “the rich,” the pigmentally compromised, the entrepreneurial, the freedom loving. Morsi’s minority is made up of groups more liberal than the Muslim Brotherhood – a threshold easily met – secularists, ever-suffering Coptic Christians and moderates.

Youssef told PBS’s Jeffrey Brown that she found the following “extraordinary”: “Police, in a matter of minutes, went from taking the abuse of protesters [who were] yelling at them that they were defending a dictator, to actually joking and joining along with the protesters.”

Extraordinary indeed. It signals that Egyptians in the employ of the state are skeptical of the power they’re sworn to uphold. Would a U.S. law-enforcement officer similarly contemplate crossing the thin blue line? Ever heard of a homegrown TSA terrorist who walked off the job, refusing to probe a grandpa from the prairie?

Morsi’s rhetoric, moreover, sounds much milder than the sedition-and-treason rhetoric directed by deluded demagogues from both parties at anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, for his defiance. Morsi has made it menacingly clear that a vote for his constitution is a vote for “stability”; a vote against it a vote for chaos. This is standard stuff stateside.

To appreciate how impervious we are to our own bondage, consider the competing realities presented on the Drudge Report. Beneath a screamer decrying the collapse of the Egyptian democracy, Drudge ran these, apparently humdrum, headlines: “NSA Whistleblower: ‘Everyone in U.S. Under Virtual Surveillance.’” “IRS Issues 159 Pages Of New Rules.” “Obama ‘thinks somebody made him king.’” (Liberty, presumably – and as Drudge would have you believe – would reign once a Republican was returned to the throne.)

In the U.S., there is no public appetite for a “campaign of civil disobedience” against Washington’s “long train of abuses and usurpations.” In Egypt, there is no public appetite for Morsi’s obese and obscene constitutional draft.

Succinct as it is by comparison, the U.S. Constitution is a dead letter. Alas, a stars-and-stripes bias prevents Americans from recognizing that all vestiges of natural justice therein lie buried under the rubble of legislation and statute.

As Egyptians fight Mr. Morsi, Americans are pinned down like butterflies by the monarch who sits in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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