Give me liberty - or give me debt

Republicans (with a small 'r') are such idealistic enthusiasts. Self included. As they - or we, as the case may be - watched history, or inevitability, unfurl in Egypt week before last, we, or they, cheered for no good reason. Other than that the will of the people had triumphed, for once, over the tyranny of entrenched despots with global-superpower backing. Or so it seemed.

The last time such euphoria prevailed was in 1989, when the volk of East Germany voted with their feet… and the Berlin Wall was breached - an event to which historians now date the establishment of the postmodern era. One couldn't help wondering what prevalent wind of philosophy this change would herald, if at all?

Such lofty speculation aside, the social networks that publicized - and probably spurred - the revolution in Pharaoh-obsessed Egypt were abuzz with more envisioning of future revolts against the entrenched order. What if people labouring under other oppressive regimes crowded into their own squares - and refused to leave until tyrants there stepped down?

Was Gaza rightly considered a square in Israel's backyard - such that if Palestinians flooded it, the outcome could be quite liberating? Was the capital of Algeria to be the next Tunis? Were marketplaces in other Middle Eastern countries ripe for revolutionary encampment? What about the suggestively-enough-named 'Independence Square' in an island republic that shall remain nameless?

In the mad rush to man the tumbrels, Tiananmen Square was forgotten (Remember the iconic image of that lone protestor confronting an echelon of tanks?). In the salivating of the masses for the blood of tyrants, the trivial fact that army rule has now ensued in once beleaguered Egypt has been chillingly overlooked (Recall also Myanmar, folks!). In the land of Nod, east of Eden, a diehard and near-desperate band of jobless republicans has thrillingly bandied about the possibility that something good can come out of the modus operandi of around a million people in Tahrir Square…

The revolution out there/over here/back home may not be televised, though. Sorry, mes enfants de la patrie! We talk a good rebellion; because raising a clenched fist against the powers that be liberates something in the soul that thrives on such outmoded concepts as liberal economies, independent oppositions, media freedom, and emancipated people.

Hope is the thing without feathers, as comedian Woody Allen said. There is every good reason why democrats abroad to the last man jack and maid of war should breathe fire and hum the Marseillaise under their revolutionary breath. But there is little point drawing the battle lines along the order and nature suggested by rebels in the Nile Delta region recently.

Here's why:

One. While things may be bad in the estimate of inveterate republicans and other unreasonable bleeding hearts, the reality may well be that the propaganda of past regimes - that a strong Executive is the need of the hour - is, funnily enough, closer to the truth than the great lie that the Opposition (or any other party or coalition of parties able to form a Government) is what we all want.

Two. While the incumbent administration has yet to prove its sincerity in matters such as trimming government and eliminating wasteful bureaucracy, crime, and corruption, it has demonstrated a canny ability to get things done… Which, if directed and channelled appropriately, can set the country on a tangent of real development - rather than setting it back a decade because of cronyism, one-upmanship, and petty point-scoring.

Three. No one is about to stage a coup only to hand the country lock, stock, and barrel back over to the military. No, sir! And so say all of us who have had enough of martial-law-like conditions under the prevailing Emergency ethic.

Four. There is the minor matter of a predictably doubling national debt to be serviced. No incoming bunch of tyros at governance should be encumbered with such a mundane obligation to meet in the first blush of power. Why court amateurs to do the job badly, when our professionals in situ are faring so splendidly?

Sorry to disappoint, folks, but our revolution will not be televised. The time for that has long since come and gone. Too many would-be revolutionists, or at least crusader champions of civil liberties, have clambered only too willingly aboard the bandwagon of the powers that be. Only the idealistic enthusiastic republicans with more courage and revolutionary fervour than good sense are left. While I count myself among the ranks of Tuscany, you can count me out of any queuing up to parade or protest at Lipton Circus or Liberty Roundabout.

My cause today is civil obedience to the rule of law, the right of all people everywhere in this land to live freely and openly, and the responsibility of the persons we elected to serve us to begin delivering on their promises. Fair and square. One last chance? Before we read them the riot act! Begin with the games, then…

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