Juan Cole asks snidely, "How do you like your democracy now, Mr. Bush?" in his latest post.
Well, he didn't ask me, but I'm going to answer anyhow.
I like it just fine, herr Professor.
Guess what? I understand that you live in some ivory tower somewhere, Professor, but I choose to live in the real world. That means, among other things that things do not go perfectly all the time; nor do they go the way I (or Mr. Bush) might happen to want them to go.
I don't get into a snit about it like some, because I recognize that simple truth.
Democracy never promises perfection. Democracy has never promised anything--except choice. NEWSFLASH. People make bad choices. They make bad choices all the time. They don't even (gasp!) act in what is obviously their best interest an awful lot of the time. This is frequently referred to as "human nature".
Welcome to reality. There is no "stunning contradiction or hypocrisy" involved here--except perhaps on your part. The decades-long self-brainwashing of the Palestinian people is hardly likely to evaporate instantaneously. They will cling to their role as Islamic victim poster children for a quite a while, I suspect. They're comfortable in this role because it explains their pathetic situation.They are comfortable in this role because people like you have encouraged them in this role and have nodded knowingly as they blame the Jews; or the Americans; or just about anyone--rather than take responsibility for their own plight. It was people like you who supported Yasser Arafat and his brand of thugs for all these years.
So the Palestinians voted for a bunch of murderous thugs in their first free election in decades. Their choice was between two groups of them, in fact--one marginally less suicidal and homicidal than the other. What did you expect?
That's the way it goes sometimes. You give people a chance to make their lives better and they make the worse possible decisions. That's usually because they haven't ever had to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices. They have been shielded and buffered by well-meaning morons, who protect them from those consequences and who encourage them in their psychological projection and denial of reality by doing so.
The people of Germany voted rather enthusiastically for Adolph Hitler, you might recall. Look where that got them and the rest of the world for that matter. It was a big mess.
There was a chance--an ever so small one--that given a free choice, the Palestinians might do somthing to change their situation. They didn't. In fact, they have made their situation likely a lot worse.
Let me tell you about change. Change is very very difficult for people. You try being a psychiatrist sometime, Professor, and you will understand that.
Every day I deal with women who remain in abusive relationships; men who are addicted to substances and refuse to stop taking them, even when they are slowly being killed by them; people who persist in following a course of action that is self-destructive and harmful--usually not only to them, but to those who care about them. Sometimes it takes quite a while for them to turn the situation around, and the first step is usually after a major disaster, when they realize they have noone to blame for their situation but themselves. This is quite a painful experience--as insight usually is; but it can lead to positive change. And it is a process that will never happen if they are being told they aren't responsible for their actions. That it isn't their fault that they behave the way they do. That they are right to blame others for their actions, poor dears.
All of these patients want--no, they often DEMAND--that the psychiatrist make everything better. What they don't understand is that it takes hard work on their part to change things in their life. They want a magic pill. They are stuck with the reality that I don't possess one to give them.
Democracy isn't a magic pill. Bush never said it was a magic pill. He never promised them--or Iraq-- a rose garden. He simply saw democracy as providing the necessary gardening tools and the seeds to begin to plant one.
The Palestinians have always wanted a magic pill. They want to walk in the rose garden of a Palestinian state with all the benefits and perks already available. They will discover, like all those before have, that noone can give them that. Not Hamas, not Bush; and not even you, Professor. Especially not if their real goal is not to improve their own lot, but to destroy Israel.
But you know what? They have taken a first step in discovering that truth by making a helluva bad choice for their future. It will not make them happy and it might very well make them even more miserable than they are now. The world keeps offering the Palestinian choices that they very regularly screw up.
So, what else is new? Like some of my patients they will either develop some insight and begin taking personal responsibility from all of this, or they will suffer. Sadly, so will others. This is not much different than it has been over the last half a century for them, is it? Or over the last millenia or two in human history for that matter.
But there is a chance; a small one still; that they might wake up and make a different choice or take a different path. They can do that in a democracy. Perhaps not immediately. Perhaps not as quickly as you or I would like. But the potential is finally there for them to make a choice that has a better chance of leading to peace and prosperity.
I firmly believe as a psychiatrist who tries to help people change, that they could choose wisely. I firmly believe the same as a mother who watches a child grow to adulthood. I firmly believe it , as a human being who has free will.
Democracy is only an opportunity. What is the alternative, after all? The only alternative to individual liberty is enslavement to the collective. And the latter leads to even greater destruction and chaos because it doesn't recognize either the real world or human nature and distorts both.
At least it should be completely clear now to all the pro-Palestinian apologizers and enablers, that they are set on self-destruction and are not at this time particularly interested in peace. Nor have they had much motivation to alter their course when there have always been people like you who cheered their self-destructiveness on; or who were ready to blame Israel for their misery instead of holding them to account for their own behavior.
Even now, Professor, you appear to be holding President Bush responsible for their behavior; and for their lack of appropriate institutions to support democracy. By doing so, you let them off the hook and thus you continue to enable and encourage them in their poor choices. The U.S. has poured millions of dollars into the Palestinian cesspool which could have helped develop those institutions to support democracy; instead they only enriched the coffers of people like Arafat and built bombs.
When the Palestinians actually want a rule of law, or stable institutions, or basic economic security for the population; or checks and balances that forestall a tyranny of the majority - then perhaps they will do something to make that happen.
You say that in their "frustration" with the policies of Israel and the U.S., the Palestinians have "swung to the far right." I say that people like you have consistently rewared and praised the Palestinians for their technique of placing blame on the Jews and the Americans for their own situation. I say that it is YOUR behavior and people like you who have given the Palestinians every reason to believe that their grievances are sacrocanct and that their victimhood is absolute and gives them some special moral superiority no matter what they do.
You are like the spouse of an alcoholic. You complain bitterly about your loved one's drinking and the behavior that results from it, but you still go out and buy them the liquor and encourage them to drink it. Then you turn around and blame your psychiatrist because the antidepressant she gives you doesn't seem to be working; and your husband still beats you and things are still going poorly in your life.
Give me a break, Mr. Cole. Personally, I blame YOU and the rest of the enablers on the left (and some on the right) who have given the Palestinians every reason to believe there will never be any consequences for their behavior.