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Election in Iraq,

by Heron Hill 1/30/05 http://heronhill.blogspot.com/

Last night I stayed up late ... really late ... on into the early hours of the morning. Iraq was having its election, and I wanted to see whether or not the day would live up to the projections, or whether things might go better than our media wanted to think they would. I was pleased with what I was seeing, because the people were coming out to vote, even though there had been threats against the lives of anyone who would dare to go to the polling stations. While watching this unfold on television was not the same as what it would have been like to actually be there, it was a heartening experience.

Still, it was far more significant to those who were able to be taking part. That would include Mohammed and Omar, who have a blog called IRAQ THE MODEL. Their post on the voting experience is definitely worth your time, as are nearly all the comments that more than 700 people have contributed in response. All the secondary commentary in the world pales in comparison to the reality of having voted for the first time after a lifetime of living under a tyrant's thumb.

I wonder how many of us living in the more comfortable nations of the world would head to the polls on election day if we thought we might be blown up or abused in other ways in revenge for defying a terrorist's will? Turnout here would likely be far less than what we saw in Iraq today!

I am deeply disappointed in the lack of support demonstrated by some of the most powerful politicians in the United States. Only a few days before the election, the senior Senator from Massachusetts declared his doubts, and today the junior Senator from Massachusetts warned us against "overhyping" the event. How can you "overhype" something as significant as the first free vote in Iraq for more than a generation? How can you "overhype" the significance of another nation joining the still too small community of democratically elected governments?

We live in an international community where there is still doubt that the Islamic world is "ready" for democracy. For all too many members of what might be thought of as "the political class", it's still OK for billions of people to live under authoritarian rule, and that "Those People" are simply not ready to participate in a representative form of governance.

Today the Iraqi people demonstrated otherwise. Not only are they ready to take a hand in their own future at the ballot box, but they are so hungry for the opportunity that not even the threat of death was enough to keep the majority away.

So, Mr. Kennedy ... Mr. Kerry, yes, it's time for the Iraqis to be free, and it's well past time for you to get out of their way





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