Nicholas Grace, Ayan Salah, Ellen Frierson
I remember when I was child that whenever I did something wrong, my parents knew about it. I would often attempt to lie my way out of potential punishment, thinking that I could get off Scott Free. To my dissatisfaction, I would always find myself in more trouble because my parents would discover that I was lying; in turn, they would punish me for my dishonesty. During the conversations in which I was more honest, punishment would usually be minimal. In addition to the lesser punishment impressed upon me; a sense of relief would wash over me, as I had nothing to hide.
Coming to Egypt, I never realized the true repercussions of dishonesty. During the Egyptian elections, the people were torn by the dishonesty of the candidates. For example, opponents of Shawfiq claimed that the former Prime Minister would not execute democratic policies because of his connections to the past, very dishonest, and corrupt, Mubarak regime. On the contrary, even though the Muslim Brotherhood had exclaimed its opposition to imposing strict Shari’a law, many Egyptians were skeptical of the Brotherhood’s veracity.
Thus, one may ask where does all this dishonesty come from? Is it rooted from the personalities of individual candidates themselves? To the best of my knowledge, such is not the case. I believe that the overwhelming sense of distrust stems from the Mubarak regime; it accepted copious amount of bribes and promised to implements reforms that were never executed. Forced to employ faith in fallacies, Egyptians were never able to experience the true values of freedom and economic success.
Now that the elections have occurred, such distrust has created a broken system, one that draws people to opposite ends–unable to accept the opposing opinion as valid, let alone veracious. Democracy is reliant upon the ability to at the minimum listen to opposing positions. In a functioning democracy such as that of the United States, American citizens go to the polls with the precondition of, if such is the result, accepting electoral defeat. They trust the fact that, despite the difference of opinion, the political opposition will uphold the democratic values pertinent to the nation’s constitution.
The future in Egypt is unsure. We do not know if the losing candidate and his supporters will accept the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood (MB). This rejection would not be because of the difference of political opinions, but rather the distrust of the opposition towards the MB to uphold the democratic values instilled in Egypt’s constitution. In order to have an efficient and true democratic system, people must be honest with each other and at the least acknowledge our opponent’s opinions. Unless these precondition are not met, the disease of mistrust will prohibit change and progress towards a fair and democratic system.