Saturday, December 17, 2005

Our Founding Father vs. Their Founding Father: Spot the Differences

From the December 13, 2005 edition of the Christian Science Monitor:
To Bush, Iraq's path to democracy akin to America's. In a speech Monday, he reminded a skeptical public of Founding Fathers' infighting. In speaking of the Iraqi democratic process from a Philadelphia stage, Bush aimed to invoke the image of America's own Founding Fathers in support of Iraq's new political leaders. As Bush said, the United States did not produce a constitution that could win ratification until years after the American Revolution. ("The eight years from the end of the Revolutionary War to the election of a constitutional government were a time of disorder and upheaval.There were uprisings, with mobs attacking courthouses and government buildings. There was a planned military coup that was defused only by the personal intervention of George Washington. In 1783, Congress was chased from this city by angry veterans demanding back pay, and they stayed on the run for six months. There were tensions between the mercantile North and the agricultural South that threatened to break apart our young republic. And there were British loyalists who were opposed to independence and had to be reconciled with America's new democracy. Our founders faced many difficult challenges, they made mistakes, they learned from their experiences and they adjusted their approach. Our nation's first effort at a governing charter, the Articles of Confederation, failed. It took years of debate and compromise before we ratified our Constitution and inaugurated our first president.")
So he isn't a Renaissance Man and he has three wives. And he is the spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shiites who have these ceremonies where they use spiky balls attached to chains, swinging them over their shoulders to puncture the flesh of their own backs. But, hey, before you say another bad thing about their Founding Father, let me remind you that the Grand Ayatollah Sistani doesn't even own slaves. So there you go, skeptic.
P.S. After applying all those historical analogies -- America's Revolution=Iraq's Revolution -- President Bush noted that "it took a four-year civil war and a century of struggle after that before the promise of our Declaration was extended to all Americans." Which means that your grandkids will still be helping to implant democracy in Iraq.