As the world watches events unfold in much of northern Africa, AKA the Middle East, cries of revolution and democracy flood every worldwide vehicle of communication. The pontificating politicos and the prognosticating punditry are virtually manic in their assessment of what America should do and/or what our President should say. And they are disturbed by the violence and bloodshed perpetrated against the otherwise peaceful protestors seeking independence from tyranny.
Blinded by the extremely cantankerous, but bloodless, spectacle of the 2000 Bush v. Gore election, we shine a self-congratulatory light on the greatness of our democracy. But it wasn't always that way. We conveniently ignore all the blood shed to get us to those 36 days after that infamous November 2000 Election Day. Those 56 signers of a very specific, accusatory 1776 document would have certainly been pleased had King George simply packed up the British military and said, "Fine. It's yours!" But, having pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, it was clear that there was no expectation of a regal capitulation.
In fact, they specifically fashioned a 2nd Amendment to their founding document in the sincere belief that bloodshed will often be a necessary defense against tyranny. And they were right. Their new nation has involved itself in several wars since its independence - including a major domestic conflict less than 100 years after its founding, lasting 4 years and costing over 500,000 lives and untold gallons of blood. We have also expended blood and lives abroad battling tyranny against others. Why should we expect countries steeped in centuries of oligarchies be any different! Why the outrage when tyrants and despots kill and maim the protesting lovers of freedom in order to protect their fiefdoms! Such outrage is a sign of our abject ignorance of history.
Our own recent history has seen blood spilled at the teeth of police dogs and fire hoses, baseball bats and arson, firebombs and via the end of a hangman's noose - all in defiance of freedom and democracy and all in the name of state's rights. And, all under the watchful eyes of American dictators. Only our tyrants were titled Director J. Edgar Hoover, Gov. George Wallace, Gov. Orval Faubus, and Sheriff Bull Conner just to name a few. More than 20 years after the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, American children and their parents were attacked and beaten simply for taking their offspring to school. And in 1968, after a relatively peaceful protest march in Memphis, Tennessee, a single gunshot aimed at the balcony of the Lorraine Motel set off a violent, nationwide, chain of events that would have lasting repercussions.
We are watching today's events of some of our own American history being played out worldwide. It is folly to believe that despotism will just walk away and die a quiet death. Freedom is never free. To quote abolitionist, and former slave, Frederick Douglass, "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." And one of the universal certainties in escaping the iron fist of British kings or Libyan Colonels is that there will be blood.