Democracy in Egypt would be great, but what's in it for me?

February 02, 2011
  • Rowland

Well, I see that the Egyptian Tea Party is having some degree of success in the Middle East, and foreign policy experts are predicting that its tactics might spread through the entire Levant.

As a big fan of massive, angry mobs wherever they might arise, I am, needless to say, watching the situation closely.

It's curious to me that in Egypt the mobs are angry over rising prices, $2-a-day wages, police intrusion into private homes and state-sanctioned torture.

In America the mobs are angry that the government is trying to give them health care.

I don't know what that says about either country, it's just interesting is all. Maybe we should switch leaders. Obama could spread freedom and stimulus money over there, and over here, Mubarak could throw all those welfare cheats on the rack.

Even their names are close. Barack. Mubarak. Wouldn't take much ink for the socialist pinkos in this country to modify their tattoos.

And you gotta love the reaction of my man, Jordan's King Abdullah II. His momma didn't raise no dummy. At the first "The End Is Near" sign, he threw his entire Cabinet under the bus. Tunisia. Egypt. No road maps need apply. He got the photo.

According to The Washington Post, Abdullah has felt the pressure "from protests by a coalition of Islamists, secular opposition groups and a group of retired army generals."

Yikes. Pretty much covers the whole waterfront, doesn't it? If your enemies are, 1. People who are religious, and 2. People who aren't, you can't be happy with your odds.

As in other nations, the protesters are seeking "economic reforms." To them I would say be careful what you wish for. We tried economic reform over here, and all it got us was plans for a high-speed bullet train and a bunch of pouty television commercials from the oil companies griping about how put-upon they are by government energy policy.

Oh, did someone say oil?

Yeah, that's always the big wild card over here when sizing up foreign turmoil.

"Hurray for the people of Egypt! How wonderful that they have taken to the streets to throw off the yoke of tyranny! How inspirational that the men and women of the nation can overthrow 30 years of corruption! How encouraging for their fellow man in oppressed nations throughout the world that - wait a sec, how much oil does Egypt produce? Oh really? That much? Wellll, let's not be too hasty here - wouldn't want to destabilize the price of a barrel of crude, or anything, just so they can get a few extra KFCs in Cairo."

I'm like every other American. I'm all for human rights and stuff, so long as the price of democracy isn't more than, say, 6 cents a gallon. (And in keeping with that, the final sign that our political self-centeredness has jumped the shark is that the cable news shows are debating whether the Egyptian uprising is good or bad for President Obama's poll numbers. Good grief.)

Along with our oil addiction, one other American icon that's getting a black eye in all this has to be the NRA. It must feel as if time has passed it by. An iron-fisted dictator is pressed by angry mobs and instead of confiscating their guns he cuts off cell phone service? This is hardly the way revolutions are supposed to work. If all of a sudden your Ruger Mini 14 is rendered impotent by Facebook, that's gotta sting.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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