We, in the United States have been given a fairly simple understanding of what democracy is. It is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
It has always been difficult for me to give true meaning as to what Lincoln meant when he said “of the people.” I've never given the concept “of the people” sufficient importance to discuss it, beyond merely flying by toward “by the people and for the people.”
But today I realize that “of the people” is pure democracy.
The people in the streets of Egypt over the past few days have provided me that understanding. Those people of the streets give true meaning to the concept of “of the people.” And their spirit appears to remain constant.
The president of Egypt will fall because he has already fallen out of favor with the main element and spirit of democracy. Pretending to be the leader in a democracy he has shown himself as a dictator and ineffective. His clothes have been torn off and he stands there as a naked dictator.
He cannot save himself, for now he shows himself as a true dictator unconnected with the people's needs and in so doing, he has destroyed what he has pretended to be, a head of a democracy.
Pure democracy is today being expressed in the streets and has shown itself to be “of the people.”
Now to relate this to us in the United States. President Obama was elected by a strong spirit of the people. The will of the people although strong, after momentarily being expressed is not always sustaining.
For us in the U.S., that will must be re-expressed within these next two years before the next election if it is to be maintained. Obama must again become the representative of that spirit of the people or it will dwindle.
At the present time, the people of Egypt do not have a leader to bring focus to their spirit and unless one arises, that spirit shall also dwindle. Perhaps it shall be completely overwhelmed.
Perhaps another dictator in a democrat's clothing shall arise and instead with time that spirit shall too be dissolved.
Let's hope that deep in that democratic will of the people that someone representing that spirit can lead the Egyptians into a functioning democracy. Let's not forget what happened after the “French Revolution.”
So now I know what “of the people” means. It is the basis of democracy. And it must be constantly sustained. That's what Lincoln meant. And that spirit will not continue to live without strong and sustained leadership.