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Brian Evankovich

Songs in the Key of Freedom
By Brian Evankovich
Feb 6, 2005 - 7:18:00 AM

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I'm gonna rock 'till I blow a fuse......
It's been a week since the first free election in Iraq and I continue to be stunned at the lack of coverage the event received. Oh, sure, there was footage of Iraqis dancing in the streets, celebrating, enjoying their first real expression of freedom, but since nothing terrible happened, it has become a non-event in the eyes of the media. I'll admit that I listened to the news wondering if a modern version of the Tet Offensive was going to break out, but that didn't happen. And I think leftist socialists in this country, and the world, were sorely disappointed.

Iraqis stood in long lines for long periods of time, and didn't complain. In the United States, we moan and complain if we have to stand in line for five minutes. And we've never been under the threat of death if we voted, either - unlike our Iraqi friends. It used to be that if you didn't vote for Saddam, he'd connect your privates to a car battery, throw on his cowboy hat and a video of The Godfather, and jolt you with electricity every time Brando talked through his nose.

Our Islamafascist enemy, otherwise known as "the insurgents", had promised plenty of shootings and bombings if the population came out to vote, but the masses turned out in defiance of the enemy and showed that you don't necessarily need bullets and bombs to win a fight. The enemy lost big with this election, and I don't think anybody really understands just how big a defeat it was.

Yes, security in Iraq was tight, with one sourpuss Time reporter in particular calling the measures "democracy at gunpoint" on his web log, but that's hardly the case (and would you expect anything less from a Time reporter, since the red logo of that magazine also reflects the political perusasion of its staff?). Security needed to be tight in order to make sure the process went in an orderly fashion, that the enemy didn't have a chance to spoil the vote. There were still attacks and casualties, and that's still going to be an issue long after allied forces leave Iraq. Think of how many more would have been killed if security hadn't been as tight as it was.

Because of that security we saw the exuberance of a people getting a taste of real freedom, in some cases, for the very first time. When was the last time you, as an American voter, felt as excited or satisfied as those in Iraq? We've taken the vote for granted in this country, to the extent that some don't even bother to show up. The vote doesn't mean anything, some say. It's not going anywhere, say others. But instead of being something to appreciate and take seriously, it's become a bicker-and-complain fest by those on both sides of the aisle. The results of our most recent election, for example, are still being argued over. Some who voted for "the other guy" have been so bummed out by the results, they need counseling; I work with people who literally showed up at the office DEPRESSED on Inauguration Day because they couldn't believe that "that man" was still president. They dream up conspiracy theories to justify their loss. It's ridiculous.

(On the other hand, maybe the partisan bickering that follows U.S. elections, which has been with us since our very FIRST election, is as much an expression of our freedom as dancing in the streets was for Iraq. This may be one of those debates with no real answer.)

The media doesn't want to acknowledge that something significant happened in Iraq, though I will at least give credit to Dan Rather, who said as much during his coverage of the event. The rest don't want to admit that a country has now joined the ranks of the free because John Kerry had nothing to do with it.

That shouldn't be the case. Both sides of the aisle should put aside their differences for five minutes in order to celebrate the success of Iraq's liberation (and do not e-mail me about the lack of WMDs or other matters pertaining specifically to the war - that's an argument for another time). A calming of hostilities in the Iraq debate will never happen (there's too much at stake, and for some, it's a religion), but a guy can dream.


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