OPINION: Democratic revolt sweeps the Middle East

Kylie Corbett

Not every person in the U.S. will ever be satisfied with our government. In fact, most people feel our government doesn’t represent us. Although I am young, and I am not entirely sure where I stand when it comes to politics, the news on TV lately has caught my eye.

As chaos erupts on Egypt’s streets and protesters demand that current President Hosni Mubarak to step down, it’s only then I realize how good we have it in the U.S. The people in Egypt are fighting for a democracy they are supposed to have, yet Mubarak has had authoritarian rule for 30 years.

People in the U.S. have the right to voice their opinions about the government. Those who do should realize the importance and significance of the rights and choices we do have as people in a free country.

According to Ursula Lindsey, a Cairo-based reporter and writer, the government in Egypt has “shut down the Internet, cell phone service, and most international telephone lines.

Through limited use of technology, a Twitter page was created for people in Egypt to “ their words in real time,” according to user @Jan25voices. One of the tweets reads “the fatalities are four times the announced figures.”

If anyone has done his or her research on Egypt, one might notice several sources saying that even preliminary elections have been faked since Mubarak has been in power.

According to an article written by Rick Kelly for the website known as the World Socialist Web Site at www.wsws.org, “the official campaign [back in 2005] has demonstrated, however, that the election is entirely fraudulent, and in no way represents a step toward a genuine democracy.”

On Sept. 7, 2005, Mubarak faced his first ever multi-candidate ballot.  He had nine opposing candidates. Kelly wrote “a number of the candidates [were] widely believed to be nothing more than Mubarak’s stooges, standing solely in order to boost the participation rate and manufacture the image of a competitive election.”

If preliminary elections have in fact been faked throughout Mubarak’s rule, then what is the point for people in Egypt to vote?

In comparison, when people in Iran revolted over a year ago on the streets against their government, nothing changed. An estimated 150 people died and 4,000 were arrested, while protesters dealt with threats of violence and death, for anyone who spoke out against the government.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), “an estimated 22.8 percent of all eligible young people in the U.S., ages 18-29 voted in the 2010 midterms.

Particularly in my generation, I have heard that many teenagers believe their votes do not count.  In the end, it’s still a vote, right? At least our elections aren’t being faked to the degree that we would have someone in office for 30 years.

If someone is going to complain about the government here in the U.S., and then follow their complaint with something along the lines of how they choose not to vote, then too bad.

Fortunately for Americans, our vote does count.

Who did you vote for in the last election?