This weekend has been terribly annoying for me as I have been sick. I am beginning to feel better now, so do not bother with sympathies.
Next weekend = Pittsburgh! A long drive, a short stay, and hopefully my team will leave with honor and medals. In the meantime I have to study.
On today's docket we have the Iraqi elections: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,145825,00.html
We discover that " 72 percent of eligible Iraqi voters had turned out to cast their ballots." That's rather amazing when you consider the threat of terrorist attacks these people faced. There were instances of violence, including suicide bombers and mortars thrown at polling stations.
While the voter turnout for this election is a reason for optimism, the true test of democracy does not come at the first election. The true test comes later. Counting the votes must go smoothly and those who lost must concede without damaging the notions of democracy that exist in Iraq.
Still, the test of democracy in Iraq remains years away from this historic moment. It can only be known by the continuing trial of elections. This first turnover, from the interim prime minister to whomever comes next is only a first step. The next phase comes during the next election cycle. Will free elections remain intact? Or will someone else rise to power and refuse to allow the people a choice in their elections? It is notable that Saddam Hussein allowed elections during his 34 year reign. It is more notable that he was the only candidate on the ballot, received 100% of the votes and most likely would have severely punished any who stood against him. Elections do not mean freedom, or democracy. They do not automatically entail a choice. If the people wish to keep their liberty they must guard it jealously in more than just voting. They must seek to improve their government and even rise to the challenge of taking on public offices themselves.
In other news, I was accosted by Mormons last night while visiting my fiance. I have nothing against Mormons, but it was a frightening moment. Craig went to make popcorn and I heard a knock on the door. I assumed he had returned and his hands were full so he wanted me to open the door for him. Upon opening the door I was confronted by two really tall men staring down at me. I had never seen them on this campus before. After thirty seconds of freak out mode I noticed their name tags and realized they were Mormon missionaries. I am a friendly person, but I was kind of ill and not thinking straight so that just scared me.
Must return to my reading.
Later that day:
I was reading at my favorite politics/current events/opinions website and I found this: http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/0,,SB110709536470040284,00.html It shows a worm's eye view of the elections in Iraq. If you click the link you can find several blogs by Iraqis telling how excited they were about the elections. You know, people dancing in the streets and showing off the blue ink that stained their hands in order to keep any from voting more than once. It also shows the serious side of the issue, I quote: " Today is a new beginning, not an end." I would not wish to downplay the success that this election has been. Yet it is good to know that many of us understand we need to keep our heads and work for the "end" that this "beginning" signifies.