In Egypt, dozens of protesters died as the Islamist government led by former president Mohamed Morsi was toppled by a military coup, a coup supported by a majority of Egyptians. Just two years ago, the Islamists, also known as the Muslim Brotherhood, gained power when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in what is now commonly referred to as the Arab Spring.
Now the streets are filled with protestors again, and Egypt looks to be on the verge of a civil war between the Islamists and their more secular opponents.
It is against the backdrop of these protests and the Syrian civil war that the United States was able to celebrate our Independence Day. The bold action of our forefathers, defended by generations of Americans both at home and abroad, is not something we can take for granted. Our democratic republic structure of government was a truly unique one when it was instituted more than 200 years ago, and it remains a strong system full of checks and balances.
But, our government relies on an informed and involved electorate in order to operate. Most Americans have a significant disdain for our federal government, specifically Congress. Conversely, many Americans do not understand how our government operates, and have knee-jerk reactions to media reports that may or may not contain the full truth.
We are grateful for the freedom that we have. This past Thursday in Greenville, our streets were lined with American flags. Phrases such as “God bless America” or “God bless our troops,” were common. But, if we do not take the time and effort to educate ourselves about how the American political system works, who our representatives are and how they act in office, we are taking these freedoms for granted.
Democracy and open political discourse are privileges, ones we must take care to maintain.
The opinion expressed here is that of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.