Not all the news coming out of Egypt these days is violent or depressing.  Take this, for instance:  the new new Egyptian government has softened the punishment for insulting the President.  It used to be that when you insulted the Egyptian President, you would go to jail for it (something which apparently happened a lot under the deposed Pres. Morsi’s tenure).  Now, all you have to do is pay a fine of $4,300.  Piece of cake!  Although being a comedian in Egypt would still be very expensive.

I felt the urge to post this because I hear so many conservative talk show hosts refer to our current administration as an “oppressive regime,” making it very obvious that they have no idea what an oppressive regime is like.  If this truly were an oppressive regime, these guys would at the very least be bankrupt from having to pay massive fines every day.  After all, insulting the President is their basic occupation.

Which makes one wonder, if they could no longer make a living spewing insults, would that force them to do something useful?  Hmmmmm….

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Conservatives here in America and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are two very different groups.  But there is a lesson to be learned from the revolution which happened in Egypt this week.

Mohammed Morsi’s government failed because it wasn’t inclusive enough.  When running for office, Morsi promised to include women and Christians in his administration, to be respectful of minority rights.  The Muslim Brotherhood claimed that they were realistic and did not have any delusions about being able to set up a fundamentalist religious state in Egypt.  With these promises, they convinced even some moderate Egyptians to vote for them.

Once they got into office, it was a different story, and they wasted no time trying to build a society based on sharia law.  But a new generation of Egyptians doesn’t want a traditional Islamic state forced on them, and we saw the results of that yesterday.

Republicans in this country face a similar dilemma.  They have to at least pretend to be inclusive and accepting of women, immigrants, minorities and non-Christians.  They know that if they don’t, they may never win a national election again.  But when they’re in office, they seemingly can’t help themselves.  They instantly focus on limiting women’s rights, making voting difficult for their fellow Americans–and trying to build a society based on religious law.

The new world we live in is a small and shrinking one.  We are part of a global economy and a global communication system.  We interact with people of different cultures and faiths on a regular basis.

Any political party or group which only appeals to one race, one religion, one tradition is already turning itself into a dinosaur, and if it’s not careful, it may go extinct.  Republicans–take note.

Whether the protesters in Egypt are opposing Morsi or Mubarak, whether they are marching for or against an Islamist or secular state, one constant remains–women are sexually assaulted.  This last Sunday, 46 sexual assaults were reported during a large gathering in Tahrir Square.  These assaults usually consist of a mob of men which surrounds, strips and gropes the women.

And yet another female journalist was attacked:

But–naturally–it is all the fault of the assault victims themselves:  “…some conservative religious clerics and government officials blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men.”

No matter what the cause, no matter what the revolution, no matter which religion is involved, we are always a convenient scapegoat and punching bag.  Though it is not the same thing, I cannot help but think of the conservatives in this country, which are rallying their base by passing as many laws which are restrictive and punitive to women as they possibly can.

In the meantime, let’s give a shout-out to the heroes in this situation, Egypt’s Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment.  These very brave people patrol the protests and try to rescue the women who are assaulted.  They also frequently have to pay out of their own pocket to have the injured women admitted to private hospitals, as the public hospitals will often not accept them (arrghh).  Yay for this courageous group, working in what must be a very dangerous setting for them.