On Tuesday, Egyptians officially began life under a mostly democratic constitution, nearly two years after the Tahrir Square revolution. But this remarkable feat for the Middle East was hardly a model in how opposing sides in a democracy should listen to each other. In fact, the US State Department issued a stern warning to President Mohamed Morsi about “the urgent need to bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process.”
Many of the steps on the way to the Constitution ”“ whose bright spot includes regular elections ”“ ignored the interests of Egypt’s various minorities, from liberal secularists to Coptic Christians. The dominant Muslim Brotherhood, whose party has won three national votes, fell for the notion that the majority should always get what it wants ”“ a mistake that has been the undoing of many democracies.
“Democracy requires much more than simple majority rule,” said a US State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell.