Iraq’s experiment with democracy today is heartening. In an election that should give them their first full-term Parliament since Saddam Hussein was toppled, the people of Iraq turned out in remarkably high numbers, braving curfews, security, road closures, border closings, threats of insurgency violence, and more.
Is it possible for this ethnically, religiously, and politically fractious society to come together in a free, pluralistic and democratic state? President George W. Bush says, “Yes.” Most of us don’t know. All of us hope so.
For democracy to succeed it needs more than free, fair, and legal elections. It needs a culture that respects the rule of law, individual dignity and liberty, and freedom of conscience and expression. It needs people who believe in truth and justice, who respect property rights, who value free enterprise, and who above all recognize freedom of religion. It needs a people who understand something about the separation of church and state, even if it is not much more than the rather noisy, imprecise version found in the United States. For democracy to succeed, it needs a people who believe in a better tomorrow and who are willing to work together to achieve it.
Let’s hope and let’s pray that the Iraqi people’s new symbol of freedom, purple ink-stained fingers, will point the way to a workable, governable peace between long-standing enemies.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2005
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/rexmrogers.