Americans and Egyptians face the National Security State on Black Friday Differently

Americans face an erosion of the rights they fought for in their revolution (checks and balances on executive power, right to privacy from government snooping, right to due process, right to have the people decide things, not kings and popes)

But they gathered in masses to celebrate consumerism on Black Friday:

Egyptians face an erosion of the rights they fought for in their revolution (checks and balances on executive power, right to privacy from government snooping, right to due process, right to have the people decide things, not dictators and theocrats)

The Egyptians mobilized on Friday throughout the country to protest against creeping dictatorship and demand the people’s rights:

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10 Responses

  1. The current situations in the United States and in Egypt are nowhere near equivalent, as your post suggests. In spite of disagreement over the extent that the Patriot Act, FISA, and other security-related elements impinge upon Americans’ privacy, we still have a strong set of checks and balances among the three branches: executive, legislative, and jusicial.

    Egypt, on the other hand, has not completed a revised constitution, has not even begun to institutionalize checks and balances, and certainly will not have adequate checks and balances under Morsi’s current regime. Until Egypt instutionalizes strong executive, legislative, and judicial branches, it cannot even be called a democracy. Democracy consists of more than just one free and fair election.

    Americans are not facing anything close to what Egyptians are facing. To suggest so wouldn’t get a passing grade in Comparative Government 101.

    • Ask Al Gore how those checks and balances are working. In a nation where the state security structure is all about an Imperial presidency (now don’t say it ain’t so), and capturing lifetime appointments of SupCt justices for “conservatives,” and gee, there is so much that could be said about Congress, that World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, the best laws and delegated regulatory functions that money can buy.

      • “and capturing lifetime appointments of SupCt justices for ā€œconservatives,ā€

        Funny about that. As I recall, the last two lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court were liberals (Sotomayor and Kagan) appointed by President Obama.

        • And the other seven? And of course the Roberts court a model of judicial restraint and judicial inactivism. And there’s no long term reactionary goal of filling the courys with Scslias either. Nice snipe though…

    • I don’t read Juan Cole’s post as saying there is a strict 1:1 equivalency. The point, it seems to me, is rather that both societies face broadly comparable challenges in terms of where they are headed, how they are (mis-)governed, and whether the masses actually have a meaningful voice — and pay attention to important issues, rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by the latest set of gadgets. In the face of these challenges, too many Americans carry on with a single-minded (and yes, uncivilized) behavior that makes them look like lemmings heading over the cliff.

  2. Just to clarify, Professor Cole, my comment on your post comparing American and Egyptian reactions on “Black Friday” in no way represents an endorsement of Black Friday. I am absolutely appalled and disgusted with Americans’ acting like animals in their quest to save a couple hundred dollars on flat screen TVs and other toys and baubles. Foresaking Thanksgiving dinner, waiting for days in advance in lawn chairs and tents, running in a stampede when big-box-store doors open at midnight–these are the acts of mindless ignorami, unworthy of a civilized people.

  3. ‘black friday’ is becoming a smaller and smaller event every year. Also, higher sales on ‘black friday’ apparently correlate with LOWER sales for the full year…. it’s a matter of people grabbing cheap stuff which they were going to buy anyway later.

    So don’t overread the American situation.

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