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Here are two paragraphs from a story I just read in the New York Times:

CAIRO — Tens of thousands of people filled the central Tahrir Square on Tuesday afternoon in an outpouring of rage at President Mohamed Morsi’s attempt to claim expansive new powers and at the role in politics played by his party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

An attempt by Mr. Morsi on Monday to soften his edict, by reaffirming his deference to Egyptian courts, did little to constrain the crowd, which some estimates put at hundreds of thousands of people. In scenes that were reminiscent of the popular uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, and that signaled the country’s current widening divides, the protesters dusted off old taunts for Mr. Morsi, the country’s first freely elected leader.

Let's rewind that for a moment:

... did little to restrain the crowd, which some estimates put at hundreds of thousands of people. (emphasis mine)

Watching the news tonight, I saw video of the demonstrations. I turned to my wife and asked, "Why can't Americans be as involved in politics as the Egyptians are?"

The only comparable crowds we generate are at Super Bowls. And it's not like we don't have anything to protest.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
Seriously. The people at rallies here are not oppressed or suffering, but they're mad because they're being told that their opinion isn't the only one that counts any more. So they screech that they're oppressed or taxed to death, when in fact they have no inking of what that really means.

Garrison Keillor did a Lake Woebegon bit years ago where he described a group touring Civil War battlegrounds, saying the group on the bus didn't have the wherewithal to hold up a gas station.

We think that posting on Facebook shows we are involved.
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
What I miss most about journalism is the reporter's ability to, in Finley Peter Dunne's words, "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
Nov. 28th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
Two words: Bread and Circuses. The People, in general, have abdicated their civic duties with their appeasement by bread and circuses.
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
They had bread; we have fast food.

They had circuses; we have sports, which is even more decadent and depraved.
Nov. 29th, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
I hear what you're saying, but I've gotta be honest - the idea of hundreds of thousands of Americans doing anything but attend a sporting event together is a very, very scary thought to me. (so is the sporting event scenario, but that I can steer clear of) And that's mostly because we're not united about anything. It would be a fight to the death, survival of the side with the biggest guns. No thanks. Me and my gray vantage point would surely be collateral damage for EITHER side.
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
I'm not so sure. Martin Luther King's famous "dream" speech was delivered during a march on Washington in '63, and there were 200,000 to 300,000 people there, depending on whom you ask.

The Vietnam Moratorium march on Washington in November '69 drew over half a million people.

The idea of a quarter-million African-Americans marching on Washington to demand human rights certainly didn't play well with much of America in '63. And there was a high profile "America: Love it or leave it" sentiment in '69 among those who supported the war. There was a moratorium march in Olean as well as in Washington. I took part in it as the urging of the Franciscan friars who taught my catechism class. When I got home, my father got so mad at me that I was legitimately scared. I thought he was going to throw me out of the house.

You're right: We're not united on *anything.* We never are. But there still are causes that cut across demographic boundary lines: to give one example, the president's (and I voted for him) obscene efforts to strengthen his ability to declare a death sentence on anybody (including Americans), anywhere in the world, without due cause, if he suspects that person is a terrorist—a word that has become so loosely defined that it is meaningless, and in a chilling way. Americans of all political persuasions should be worried about that. And that's just one item on a long list.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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