Whatever one makes of the direction Egypt is headed, the most ominous headline I’ve seen, recently, is the one that is ostensibly optimistic: “Egypt: 98.1% of voters approve constitution.”
That was in USA Today.
It is not, of course, believable.
What do more than 98 percent of America’s voters agree on?
Transplant that radical supermajority to Egypt, where politics is often deadly, a coup recently took out the biggest faction — and with it, the previous working constitution — and where the major faction is associated with terrorism and street violence, and we are to expect a consensus like this?
The title defeats itself, undermines itself.
It might as well have said, “This Title Is a Lie,” except without the paradox.
Then again, with only 38.6 percent of voters going to the polls, that 98.1 figure takes on a new meaning. Could it be that, of 38.6 percent of eligible voters actually voting, the ones who did show up were nearly unanimous in their support of the new regime?
More likely, but still not likely at all.
Revolutionary politics is an ugly business. And what we are to make of what’s really happening in Egypt is beyond my ken. I just know that 98.1 percent of Egyptian voters do not approve of the constitution.
But if this kind of nonsense gets reported with a straight face in America, it should make us more circumspect about the other information we receive about conflicts overseas.
I’m 98.1 percent confident of that opinion. At least.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.