Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We're Better off Than Egypt -- Right?

RJ Eskow

A tourist who was interviewed last night from Cairo spoke for millions of his fellow Americans when he said he couldn't imagine living a country like Egypt. It is hard, isn't it?

Imagine: A government run by and for the rich and powerful. Leaders who lecture others about "sacrifice" and deficits while cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy. A system so corrupt that rich executives can break the law without fear of being punished. Increasing poverty and hardship even as the stock market rises. And now, a nation caught between a broken political system and a populist movement that could be hijacked by religious extremists at any moment.

No wonder they're upset! Why, we'd be marching in the streets too.

Heh. Americans are waaaay too lazy. A lot of 'em can barely roll off the couch to wave their guns around.

Egypt's been plagued by the same contradictory "cut taxes and reduce the deficit" logic we're hearing in the US. And why not? It serves the same web of financial interests.

Wall Street banks have a record of chronic criminality in the United States, yet continue to maintain a level of political power and influence that would look familiar to any Egyptian.

Egyptians face much greater hardships and dangers than Americans do, and it would be wrong to minimize either their difficulties or their bravery. But while we shouldn't trivialize our differences, it's also wrong to ignore our similarities. If we do, it lets our nation's leaders do far less than they should be doing to create real economic and political change. It allows us to admire the Egyptian people without challenging our own consciences. It lets us admire their activism without seeing the need for action here at home.

Sometimes it's easier to admire courage in others than it is to seek it in ourselves.

No 'sometimes' about it. Always.

RJ waxes a little hyperbolic, but not all that much. Go read the rest.

No comments: