Do you watch popular nightly news? You shouldn’t! They don’t cover anything that is of any sort of long term importance. What’s happening in Tunisia and Egypt will have major ramification for Americans…just not in 15 minutes. Everything in our world is changing at a pace we can’t fathom. What once was important changes faster and faster and with a hell of a lot more complexity. Our minds and news outlets try and simplify everything when there is more and more complexity. The truth is no one knows what will happen.
A single sound bite from our sad sack news saying Egyptians are fighting for freedom means nothing. It’s an easy abstract term that makes for easy simple news. We need to think about what that freedom may mean in the greater scheme of our lives and that perhaps there will be more instability in world. Who is to say that a new freely elected government will be pro-west? After all hasn’t the United States back a dictator for 30 years? Who is to say that youth of Egypt won’t elect an Islamic republic? After all freedom does allow for unexpected out come right? How do we the Egyptians in a surge of nationalism won’t try and take back the Sinai from the Israelis? We have no idea.
Egypt is one of the very important countries in the world. Aside from its great history and leadership in the Arab world, it is also the home of the Suez Canal. Why is that important? Well every drip of oil that comes from the Middle East to the United States has to go through it. The Suez connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. I am sure that the EU and US won’t let anything happen to the Suez Canal but that could effect our lives! Huh? Well the price of gas could go up, there could be a civil war in Egypt, and there could be an Islamic fundamentalist insurgency. Lots can happen and power abhors a vacuum. Someone will fill in the gaps and we have to make sure we understand the stakes.
Pay attention folks, it’s your duty; we have freedom of information so use it. Celebrity news will be there tomorrow, sports news will be there tomorrow. What happens in the world tomorrow is being determined today.