Saturday, August 20, 2005

More good news from Iraq. Here's an interesting LAT story that highlights one reason why democracy works so well: it tends to encourage participation.
Next Time, Sunnis Intend to Be Heard
Many regret boycotting the parliamentary election in Iraq. They say they won't repeat the mistake when it comes to a new constitution.
BAGHDAD — Suhail Najim spent Iraq's last election day holed up at home, watching television and joining other Sunni Arabs who boycotted the polls to protest the presence of U.S. troops in his country.
Today the former tourism official is so eager to vote that he has visited three registration sites to ensure that his name is on the rolls for the planned October referendum on a new constitution.
The January boycott, now widely viewed as a political blunder, left Sunnis underrepresented in the National Assembly and with a limited role on the committee charged with crafting a new constitution. Instead, both bodies have been dominated by Shiites and Kurds.
Determined to regain some of their clout, leading Sunni clerics who once called elections under occupation a farce and condemned voting as an act against Islam, are using the same mosque pulpits to urge followers to register.
The media focus on all the scrapping over the Constitution tends to obscure the rather amazing fact that they're talking about a Constitution. That alone is a huge departure from the "whoever has the most guns rules" politics of the last three decades.

Even if they fail to produce a Constitution by Monday, it's far from the end of the world or the failure of the democratic process. It just means new elections, and a new chance to reach consensus. As long as the debate is happening with words rather than guns, the cause of freedom and democracy is advanced. As Thomas Jefferson noted during our own decade-long attempt to create a Constitution: "An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry."


Blogger SMK said...

The Sunnis will be there next time. I thought they would show up in greater numbers for the last election. But their participation in the constitutional committee has been encouraging, and their stated intention to vote in upcoming elections is also a good sign.

11:23 AM  

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