Videos of women waiting in line to cast their votes have flooded our television screens over the past few days. It’s a good day for Iraq and for democracy. For the first time in many years, it’s not the outcome of the elections that counts, but the elections themselves. With their massive participation Sunday, the Iraqis have demonstrated that democracy is not just trait of western culture, but is a way to give citizens the possibility to express their opinions. This will obviously not end terrorism, but it’s a clear act of strength that proves that the actions of al-Qaeda cannot stop a nation’s will.
No, I’m not a Republican. No, I don’t like George Bush. No, I did not support the war in Iraq and I still do not support the war and the fallacious motivations behind it. But I still believe that last Sunday was a great day for Iraq and for its citizens, who, for the first time, knew that they could decide the destiny of their country.
However, I also believe that when Bush congratulated the Iraqi people, he was really congratulating himself. He finally showed his victory to all those who criticized him. The price? Over $200 billion and thousands of victims. He won though, and for the Iraqis who are hoping for a free nation, this means a lot. And that’s surely what President Bush will be remembered for. No, he won’t be remembered for his tax cuts to the wealthiest, for his refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol or for the way he will abuse the poor by reforming Social Security. He will be remembered for establishing a democracy in Iraq.
Now, two main roads lie ahead: We can either be optimistic and hope that this first step in the right direction in Iraq will end the harsh phase of the Bush administration, return us to diplomacy and reopen a true talk with other nations, or we can be pessimistic and just expect these elections to require more troops to be sent to the Middle East and to make Bush and Cheney hungrier for expanding democracy even further. That is: drop the Q and add an N – the other name for Persia, for you slower ones. The answer will hopefully be given during the next State of the Union Address, when the president will unfold his plans for the close future. But let’s be positive and believe that these elections really brought “a taste of democracy” to the Iraqi people and that their desperate need for peace will not be used as an excuse to launch new campaigns of war. “Purpose without arrogance,” Bush said after being elected for the first time in 2000. Please, let what happened prevent me from thinking about the current administration as “arrogance without purpose.”
Raffaelo Colosante is a senior computer science major.