The Joplin Globe
The Western world claimed a victory of sorts for democracy when President Mohammed Morsi won the Egyptian election.
Now that same democratically elected leader has unilaterally imposed a decree giving himself new and sweeping powers in that country.
We always thought that democratically elected leaders were supposed to rule, well, democratically.
In a democracy, the minority side still is expected to have considerable power as long as its ideas make sense for the country as a whole. So why should Egypt have a president who now decides that the judiciary, for example, should not have judicial powers to ensure that the country is ruled by law, not just decrees?
We now see the liberal and secular segment of the Egyptian population back in the streets attempting to restrain the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.
The question for American policy in Egypt is whether President Morsi’s attempt to gain essentially dictatorial power is so he can govern an unruly country effectively or so he can impose Muslim Brotherhood values using strong-arm tactics.
Is Morsi trying to become like his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, the only difference being Morsi would impose strong religious or Islamic values instead of secular values upon all Egyptians? In either case, whatever the values might be, imposing them without democratic participation by all Egyptians peacefully seems ... “un-American.”
Whether it becomes “un-Egyptian” will be decided in the streets at this point. We would much prefer such decisions to be made in legislatures or parliaments instead.