Monday, October 17, 2005

It's Not About The Constitution

Best constitution-related quote I could find so far:

Many did not get the text but even if they did receive it, I don't know if they read it. Beyond this, however, the vote is an important educational act in democracy, it must be taken as such: as a step towards a path which will be very long. How many Europeans read the Constitution before going to vote about it?

Mgr. Jean Baptiste Sleiman
Baghdad's Latin bishop
Via AsiaNews

When Fr. Yousif visited the States this summer, I asked him what he thought of the process of writing the new Iraqi constitution. His answer was, "The constitution is not the important issue. The most important thing for this government is to provide security, electricity and water to people."

He summed it up.

Lately, the world has been talking A LOT about New Orleans. People who never heard of this city, now know how to pronounce it. While Hurricane Katrina was a monstrous storm, Rita was probably stronger than Katrina. But, you don't hear much about Rita in the news. You don't even hear much about the many hurricanes that hit Florida every year. We all have the same national Constitution. It doesn't make a difference after a hurricane.

Do you want to know the real difference? The local and state governments in these three states act differently. Obviously Texas and Florida had better pre/post disaster plans, cultures and governments than Louisiana. Sorry folks, that's the truth.

Mark was shocked how quickly the national television left Southeast Texas after Rita hit our area. I told him they are interested in 15-second scandals. Unfortunately for them, people here acted as a big, strong family, including businesses and local governments. It's not something the BIG TV folks want to report in their 24/7 news. They still wanted to talk about New Orleans.

And if you want to know more about New Orleans and its culture, read Mad Canuck's first-hand experience in New Orleans here and here.

Let's get back to constitutions. We'll forget about America because it always irritates people who've never been here and don't understand how the state and federal governments work in this country. Let's talk about places like the United Kingdom. Does this country has a constitution? As far as I know it doesn't. Then, why do many people love to move to the U.K.? Simple answer: because the government takes care of its citizens. I'm sure there are many people who are not satisfied with the British government. But, that's a given in democratic countries.

We can amend the Iraqi constitution. We could continue to reject one Iraqi constitution after the next. Would any constitution be perfect enough for all Iraqis? NONE WILL EVER BE.

Iraq is a complex society with different ethnic groups. We are a big family that can tolerate each other to a point. Each of these ethnic groups has its own rules, cultures and beliefs. Is that a bad thing? Nope. It's what makes Iraq interesting and a great country.

The Iraqi constitution doesn't matter as much as security, water, electricity and common freedoms. These are the result of local and national governments working together.

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