A couple of progressives in the blogosphere have tried to link the protests in Cairo to the protests in Madison, saying “they’re both protests for democracy!”
In Cairo, the people are protesting for a system of representative democracy, where leaders elected through universal suffrage decide policy through votes. In Wisconsin, the protesters are demanding the exact opposite. The Senate Democrats of Wisconsin have derailed the democratic process by fleeing the state and illegally boycotting the whole voting system. They seek to let union leaders keep the special privileges of being able to force all public workers to join their unions, and to force the government to negotiate through those unions. That’s not equality. That’s not democracy. And it’s not freedom. It’s union power over everyone else, and nothing more.
In this sense, Wisconsin is the anti-Cairo. In Cairo, they protest for the freedom of self-determination. In Madison, they protest against it. In Egypt, they threaten war if the small group of elite bosses continue to hold their autocratic power over the people. In Wisconsin, they threaten war if the small group of elite bosses don’t get to continue to hold their autocratic power over the people.
No, the Democrats of Wisconsin cannot find their comparison with the protesters of Egypt. The Senators and union bosses who are trying to hold onto their power, even after the voting majority of the democratic republic told them “NO,” share more of a likeness with Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, and King Abdullah. They are the ones trying to destroy self-determination.
The Democrats of today are like the hotheaded protesters in the 1960’s trying to prevent school desegregation. Their actions are anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, and merely regional- compared to the nationwide Tea Party movement that they are reacting against. Decades from now, the Wisconsin protesters will be seen as the bigoted old generation desperately trying to cling to the status quo as the new, generational civil liberties movement sweeps their worldview into the dustbin of history.