Monday, February 14, 2011

Irrelevance of the US to Democratic Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt

We suddenly find ourselves living in wonderful, amazing, and interesting times, definitely not only in the sense of the Chinese curse ("May you live in interesting times").

One very significant aspect of the successful (so far) Egyptian revolution is that the US was essentially irrelevant to the whole process. Not a nice thing to think about our previously all-powerful country, but this was a grass roots movement and, like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the best thing the mighty USA could do was stand back, stay out of the way, and let people power lead the way.

As Bob Dylan put it so well in "Times They Are A-Changing":

Don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

It is becoming abundantly clear that, for the spread of democracy in the world, we in the US are the old folks. The people in the streets who ousted Mubarak represent the force behind the democratic future of the world, while the US represents the respectable status quo. So let's stay out of the way of this wonderful grass roots movement that is sweeping the Arab world.

But oh why couldn't wishy-washy Obama have supported the young Egyptian revolutionaries before their success was a fait accompli? He would have gained significant credit for himself (especially among his former avid supporters here in the US) and, far more importantly, helped to persuade the people in Tunisia, Egypt, and other Arab countries in which change is brewing, to view America as a steadfast (albeit pretty insignificant) supporter of revolutionary democracy. It seems clear that the US government and its leader is instead correctly viewed by the young Arab revolutionaries in the streets as a feather that blows in the wind, finally taking sides only when the outcome is clear.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Statutory Rape by a Catholic Priest

Today’s New York Times (2/12/2011, page A12 top, “Los Angeles Archdiocese…) describes a Catholic priest who confessed to having sex in Los Angeles in 1967, with a 16 year-old girl.

The response of the Catholic Church was, predictably, to first appoint the priest, Martin P. O’Loughlin, to serve on a Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Advisory Board (well, I suppose O’Loughlin is indeed an expert on carrying out sexual abuse!), and then appoint him as pastor to another church. Now, thank “God”, the priest is finally being dismissed from the Los Angeles Diocese.

But what a shame that the statute of limitations for statutory rape in California is 10 years or less. I don’t care what this rapacious creep does for a living. He deserves to be tried, convicted, and sent up the river for a long time for the evil crime he committed, surely causing permanent and severe injury to the life of that young girl.

Today’s revelation of how the Catholic Church dealt with this issue, first by concealing it, then placing the priest on the Sexual Abuse Advisory Board, and then exposing additional children to this predator, deals yet another blow to the crumbling sanctity and authority so long professed and projected by church officials.