Rebirth of Reason

War for Men's Minds

Sicking The Saddamites #5: It Works!
by Barbara Branden

Today, for these matchless hours, it doesn’t matter what side you’ve been on politically—it doesn’t matter if you were for the war in Iraq or against it, if you were for George Bush or against him. What matters is what we’ve seen on television yesterday and today, and its meaning—and that as men and women of good will we can join together to celebrate a triumph of the human spirit.

Iraq has voted in the first free and democratic election it has known in the thousands of years of its history. Despite suicide bombers, snipers with machine guns, terrorists with rockets, posters announcing: “If You Vote – You Die!”–more than sixty percent of Iraq’s eligible voters, Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds, Moslems and Christians, the young and the old, walked tremblingly through the streets and back alleys of their tortured country to cast their votes. Some of them carried their old and infirm on their backs or pulled them in carts; some of them had to step over pieces of the bodies of suicide bombers; some of them wept at the sight of a bombed-out school that had been a polling place. They waited in long lines for hours, standing in the unprotected open until they could be searched, have a finger marked with purple ink to signify that they were voters, and be handed that modest–seeming—and miraculous—piece of paper that is the flag of civilization: the ballot. When they had marked their ballots and dropped them into the ballot boxes, they hurried outside to triumphantly wave their purple fingers and to join their fellow-citizens in exultant dances of victory. Preliminary returns indicate that more than 60% of those eligible had the courage to vote, and that a large percentage of those were women—a better record than in our own election.

One of the commentators on television, discussing the risks the Iraqi voters had taken, remarked, in awe: “It works!” It does indeed work. Those who say that the longing for freedom is inherent in the human spirit, are correct.

When I see what a people, most of whom have never experienced freedom, will dare for the chance to be free, I know that one must never give up on the human race. And one must never give up on America, as so many of its citizens have done. Are there things wrong in our country? Yes. Are there things very wrong in our country? Yes. Are there things terribly wrong in our country? Yes. But we must always remember that here, in this land that is the world’s last best hope, we have come as close to perfection as we human beings, in our slow advance through blood-soaked centuries, have yet come. And that is very close indeed.

And so, my friends, join me in saluting the newborn Iraqi baby whom its happy parents have named “Election.”
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