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The Worst of Times... Really?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stefen Sharkansky, of the blog Sound Politics, took to task an editorial in the Seattle Times. In his post, The worst of Times, he states:
Yesterday's Seattle Times has a delirious unsigned editorial (I assume written by Bruce Ramsey) celebrating the victory of terrorist group Hamas in this week's Palestinian elections:
Palestinian voters were not crazy when they roughly replaced the long-ruling Fatah Party with the militant group Hamas ... Holding real power can be a sobering, moderating influence ... Grant Hamas the benefit of the doubt.
Those who live in the region, understand what Hamas is all about and have a stake in the consequences are less sanguine than Bruce Ramsey is. The Times could do a better job of educating itself about Hamas' fundamentalist Islamic objectives. Even if Jewicide bombings are acceptable to the Seattle Times, gender apartheid probably isn't.
After reading the editorial, I could not make the connection between the author's reporting of an election by Palestinians and Stefens' references to Hamas' fundamentalist Islamic objectives. Therefore, I responded:
I think most are missing the author's point. The United States government is in the business of exporting Democracy to the world... at gunpoint if necessary. How ironic would it be, then, to hear our leaders deriding the democratic election of Hamas? The author, in my opinion, is attempting to point out this fact in his editorial. We can see this if we look close enough:
Palestinian voters were not crazy when they roughly replaced the long-ruling Fatah Party with the militant group Hamas. In the finest democratic tradition, they threw the arrogant, thieving rascals out.
By all accounts, the election was open, honest and fair. More than 70 percent of eligible voters turned out to get rid of the regime associated with graft, corruption and lawlessness in Palestinian towns. In a universal application of "all politics is local," Palestinians voted in an alternative that has opened schools and medical clinics in the midst of chaos.
Grant Hamas the benefit of the doubt. That is the inherent optimism of diplomacy. A cautious, incredulous world community must help Palestinians get the most out of its embrace of democracy.
The author notes that the election was legitimate, therefore the U.S. government must respect it. We don't have to like it, but we have to respect it. Besides, Palestinians didn't so much vote in Hamas as they voted out the Fatah Party. The people exercised their power of the ballot box and now they've got what the majority wanted. The author is merely saying that we need to respect the will of the Palestinian people by letting Hamas attempt to serve them. Before the election, Hamas were answerable only to themselves. Now, they're answerable to all Palestinians.


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