Huge Turnout in Iraqi Elections
The elections in Iraq are all over but the counting. There will be winners and losers but in a democracy, where people have a chance to select those who will lead them, the entire country wins. An estimated 11 million (70% of voters) cast votes for their future--something they have never done before. Over the summer I read a few books on our own nation's beginning--1776 by David McCullough, Washington's Crossing, John Adams, and A Great Improvisation--on Benjamin Franklin. Surprise #1 was that such a small group of people, guided by a compelling vision of what could be, would put everything on the line, pledging everything they had on the chance to create a type of country and government that had never existed before. Surprise #2 was how little their effort was supported, or should I say, how fickle was the support of the American population, as a whole for the effort. "Loyalist" supported Britian nearly to the end of the war. Our Declaration of Independence was in 1776 but the war went on for seven years until peace was secured in 1783. The surprise for the French and the English was that after the war was over, Washington did not crown himself king! The values and ideals of a constitutional democracy were bigger than the heroics of any one person. In our own birthpangs of nationhood, there was turmoil, insurgency, betrayal and fighting. Democracy is new for Iraq, so let's give them a little time. As Franklin said, "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value." Understanding the dearness of freedom and democracy is why we esteem them so highly.
I'm glad the elections went well because our own son is in Baghdad and we have but one prayer...for his safe return, which is scheduled for early March. We want to him to be with his wife, Ashlie and young son, Gentry. We want him home. And the sooner Iraqis can self-govern, the sooner America's presence will not be needed. Patience and prayer are the operative words. So pray for Jeff and the future of Iraq today.
Got this note later today from Ashlie: "I have only talked to Jeff for a brief conversation since the elections. Iknow he was by the polling stations but I don't know if that was him on TV or not [Elyse Lamb Carlucci swore she saw him on the news]. He has been really busy with the elections and they have been working insane hours. Pray for him because things are really hard right now. This holiday season has really been hard for both of us and we really need strength to edure. Talk to you soon and we are excited to see you."