Paul Johnson on democracy
Why Millions Say, Softly, God Bless America
Despite all these false friends and hidden enemies, however, democracy is taking its first faltering steps in the Arab-Muslim world. It may well be that in history’s long perspective, America’s success in turning Afghanistan and Iraq away from tyranny, fear and murder toward the peaceful rule of the ballot will seem a historic turning point. Other successes may well follow, and the chariot of democracy will gather momentum.
Just as the appalling 20th century was the age of the totalitarian state, the Gulag and Auschwitz, so the 21st may come to be seen as the age of government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” If so, the U.S., by its courage and persistence, will be able to take primary credit. It has certainly led from the front, and it has shown that it knows how to use its position as the world’s sole superpower with judgment, honor and unselfishness.
I think Abraham Lincoln would be proud of what George W. Bush and the U.S. forces have done. After the freeing of the slaves, what more logical and benevolent step could there be than to free millions of Arabs from the slavery of terror? So I say, God Bless America. And I’m confident that countless millions throughout the world say so, too, even if they do not dare–yet–to say so aloud.
Just last week I posted Mario Vargas Llosa’s wonderful article, where he said,
No matter what the result of the elections might be, they have been, just from the huge participation of voters, a huge success of large consequences in the entire Middle East. The elections show that it is perfectly possible for a country with a large Arab and Muslim majority to opt for a democratic system where power alternates, where the right to disagree is respected, and where a vertical and horizontal decentralization of powers guarantees autonomy to the religious and ethnic minorities.
It wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for America and the Americans.