Take Egypt, where 12 brutal plagues couldn't get the minority vote heard. Not much has changed, apparently. If we're to believe a recent Pew poll, 54 percent of Egyptians believe that women and men should be segregated in the workplace; 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned; 84 percent believe that apostates of Islam should face the death penalty; and 77 percent believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off.
And 99 percent of Americans -- just a guess -- wouldn't want to live under that kind of democracy, even if it meant a popular national vote for president.
Don't get me wrong; democracy is clearly a vast improvement over an autocracy. (Though, now that you bring it up, how many of you would choose to reside in one of those despotic Persian Gulf states with stipends, film festivals and casinos rather than in a democratic Haiti?) Democracy without a moral foundation, economic freedom or a respect for individual and human rights, though, has the potential not to be any kind of freedom at all.
We all wish the Muslim world the best in shedding its dictatorships and theocracies and finding true liberty. But let's not confuse two distinct ideas. At the very least, not on television, a place Americans can typically rely on for pinpoint accuracy and untainted reporting. Not there.
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