Thursday, January 15, 2009

Democracy and Irony

One of the ironies of the Israel/Palestine question is that it is Israel's dual-nature that leads to this being an ongoing question. That Israel at once aids the population that sends rockets and suicide bombers into its midst, and yet won't take the real, serious steps necessary to create a true and lasting peace is a testament both to its humanity and its indecision--in a sense, to its democracy. Democracy is a fickle thing. Strong actions that are non-military are extremely hard to push through the halls of Parliament, or Congress, or the Knesset or what have you.

As Bush said, and I paraphrase: "This would be a lot easier if this were a dictatorship. As long as I was the dictator."

It's the ugly beauty of any democratic society. The masses are more easily pushed toward guns and glory. Freedom and the ability to choose our leaders gives us such a great deal of power to avoid getting anything done. Thus things are only completed to the halfway mark. Israel exits unilaterally from Gaza, yet leaves the West Bank occupied.

Half-measures are one of the curses of democracies. Then again, you run such a high risk of getting stuck with a bad leader when in any other system of governance. Watching the transition of power between Bush and Obama is testament to this. Democracy, coupled with the rule of law, is a fantastic thing. The one without the other, though.

You get Gaza.