Egypt’s Morsi, Lincoln and Janis Joplin

    Agender-insulted Tunisian lit himself up and ignited the Arab Spring. Social media (SM) gave it wings. Egypt’s Morsi and the Brotherhood came to power in Tahrir q e and caused the unhappy ending of our stable relationship with Hosni Mubarak. But, Morsi gave not a thought to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, wherein he created a citizen’s right: that only a “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The awesome self-selection power of “community” in SM, makes it the ultimate uncontrollable “genie out of the bottle,” for it aggregates each like-minded fellow citizen of the world, on like topics, and produces a tsunami of topical discontent. To paraphrase Janis Joplin, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, Nothing, that all that [Morsi] left me…”. Methinks, Lincoln could not have imagined that what he was unleashing was more powerful than the Magna Carta, for he gave every citizen the right to hold its leaders accountable as honest fiduciaries and deliver the most “common good.” With digital connectivity, the dangerous Wikileaks and Snowdens of the world expose every government’s good secrets and hidden mistakes to the harsh sunlight of a public unaware of the art of statecraft. History instructs that Rome’s “Bread and Circus” and Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror” cabins evil at various points of the governmental spectrum. Ravi Batra, Chair Nat’/ Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs

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