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Term limits in the street
by Travus T. Hipp
Feb 06, 2011 | 582 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The nearly uniform interpretation of current events along the Nile holds that the overthrow of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak is an exercise in man’s eternal search for freedom. This fable is largely derived from the protestations of some million demonstrators gathered in Cairo’s so-called “liberation Square.” These good folks, like protestors around the globe, claim that the lack of freedoms enjoyed by western democracies is their root cause for demanding the ousting of the longtime strong man rule of Mubarak and his military cohort. Nice slogan but wrong!

The bottom line on Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and most of the rest of the Arab crescent is boredom. The boredom of college educated young men without jobs. The boredom of rural life mainly unchanged since the days of the pharaohs, or the resentment of having to serve foreign tourists for tips to survive in cities of tens of millions, largely without plumbing. After a few decades of no progress, such boredom ferments into pre revolutionary discontent, and the fuse is lit for explosive change, starting at the top.

The illusion that democracy is the desired end result of social upheaval is naïve at best in the light of history. Removing the Czar didn’t do much for the Russian peasants. The ruthless factions seized control of the newborn government and massacred their competition along with the ideological dissidents among the masses. The modernist Persians tossed out the Shah and saw their revolution co-opted by Khoumeini and his Shia zealots. In those few postcolonial nations, mostly African, where democracy has been allowed to grow into governance, the failure to resolve economic inequality has led to sequential coups and massacres. Not much of a track record for decapitation of existing regimes.

The assumption that modern man can continue to practice the economy of greed and competition is challenged by the simple fact that there are no longer jobs for most of the worlds burgeoning population. Exploitation of resources, both natural and human, for the profit of an increasingly narrow segment of the population is not sustainable in a time when every effort at cooperatively feeding and sheltering the people must be made. Wealth redistribution will be the future, whether at the barrel of a gun or by new systems of organizing society, led by government.

In our country, we practice term limitation to avoid the possibility of long term dictatorship through re-election. The result has been less than inspiring, considering that any incoming president has less than two years to get anything accomplished before he becomes a “lame duck.” Perhaps extending the executive term to six or eight years might cure the problem, but one never knows, do they?

Democracy is fine in the streets, which is why we are a republic.

“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at
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