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While blaming Israel for the dethroning of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey last week revealed his ignorance about democracy. He claimed that at a meeting between Turkey’s justice minister and a “Jewish intellectual” in France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, the “Jewish intellectual” had said, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box.”
The only portion of Erdogan’s anti-Semitic rant that is correct is “democracy is not the ballot box.” Like Barack Obama and George W. Bush before him, Prime Minister Erdogan does not understand the nature of democracy or what factors in the West allow this system of choosing elected officials to function.
The democratic electoral process within the framework of a constitutional republic is often improperly referred to as a democracy in the United States and Western Europe, even by those who know better. In Western nations there is a solid framework of governance in which there is limited voting allowed. In France, for example, the people may vote for various parties and civil leaders, but no vote can be held to disband the Parliament or eliminate the tax structure. If France, or for that matter the United States, actually had a pure democracy, the mass of people could vote for anything at any time. The result of course would be chaos and mob rule, with no safeguards for minorities. If the majority wished to outlaw the very existence of a minority group, they could vote to eliminate them.
What occurred in Egypt in 2012 with the election of the Muslim Brotherhood is the essence of what is wrong with true democracy. It is possible for any kind of rat who makes the right promises to be elected, regardless of how despotic he and his political party may be. As cannot be forgotten, Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party were elected to power by popular vote. In the case of Egypt, the intent of the Muslim Brotherhood from day one of winning the election was to establish Shariah law and enslave or eliminate the Christians and other minorities in the nation.
For decades Americans and others in the West were told by the media that the previous president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was a dictator. In reality he ran for office under the terms of a constitution that did not allow religious political parties to participate or hold office. The Muslim Brotherhood, because it is a radical religious group that has said clearly it would enact Shariah law, was not allowed to participate. Under those circumstances, Mubarak always won re-election.
This same constitutional process was present in Turkey until a front for the Muslim Brotherhood called the Justice and Development Party was formed and falsely claimed to be non-religious. Since coming to power, Prime Minister Erdogan has slowly dismantled the structure of the secular constitution and begun instituting Shariah law. Turkey now has the highest number of jailed journalists in the world. Hundreds of secular army officers have been arrested and sentenced to life in prison by Erdogan’s appointed judges for planning an alleged coup 30 years ago that never took place. This is democracy without restraint, without the solid steel box of unchangeable laws that protect minorities, such as we once had under the Constitution in the United States.
The founders of the United States produced a solid framework of government allowing for a limited democratic election process within the Constitution, a document of absolute laws derived from thousands of years of Judeo-Christian principles of justice and fair play. Elements were deliberately put in place to stop any rapid democratic movement from causing chaos and disorder; for instance, the Electoral College was intended to give the states power to overrule the popular vote in a presidential election. Senators were to represent the states, not the people, and were to be appointed by the state legislatures, not popularly elected. The Senate was to be appointed in thirds every two years to slow down any radical change.
Most of the safeguards to stop chaos and radical change in the United States are gone. Electors are bound by the popular vote for the most part, and senators no longer represent the states since they are directly elected. Since Franklin Roosevelt, the presidency has moved from a role of servant leader of the people to one of imperial power. America is moving somewhat slowly, but surely toward the same type of election debacle that was seen in Egypt when a well-organized Nazi-style party took control during a chaotic election in 2012.
The election of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt was pressed forward by Western powers when no constitution was in place. Thus Morsi was elected as the president of a nation with no constitution and with the ability to appoint whomever he wanted. He engineered the adoption of a constitution that served only him and his radical Muslim constituency. Egyptians got “change” from President Morsi, but not the change they had in mind. The people thought “democracy” meant a Western-style republic, but instead they learned that truly open democratic elections become repressive mob rule.
The open question remains – did the American public learn anything from what happened in Egypt? Probably not. Too many Americans are too busy trading food stamps for beer and theatre tickets to care who is in charge, as long as the federally issued checks can be cashed. The bread-and-circus culture in America is now fertile ground for a despot willing to bring radical change.