Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
By Smokey Briggs
Freedom does not
mean "like us"
Freedom is such a dangerous concept. It is a two-edged knife that severs
the restraints on our behavior - both good and bad.
When most of us think of freedom we think of America. We think of a hard
fought revolution fought more than 200 years ago. We think of noble ideals
that are brick and mortar of the American system. We think of the First
and Second Amendments.
We think of our system of government - universal suffrage, equal rights,
and equal treatment under the law.
But being free does not imply a desire for democracy, or equal rights
for women, or the protections of a Constitution, or a fear of a state church.
Free means exactly what it says - free. Free to do or not to do.
When we speak of nations and cultures, it means the right to choose a
system of government and laws, or anarchy for that matter.
Supposedly we deposed Saddam Hussein so that the people of Iraq could
As the brief war concluded we as a people seem amazed that the Iraqis
are not erecting statues of Thomas Jefferson, making it illegal to discriminate
against another Iraqi just because he practices a different brand of Islam,
or falling over themselves to make sure that Iraqi women have the same political
rights as men.
I have bad news.
It is not going to happen.
Iraq is not America.
For better or worse the cultural values of Iraqis are not the cultural
values of Americans and it is from culture that government flows.
The Bush Administration has stated that when the dust settles the new
Iraqi government will be a democracy.
Well, it may look like a democracy, and taste like a democracy, and smell
like a democracy, but it still will not be a democracy.
Democracy is a form of government that only functions when it is put
in place by the people who are governed.
It is a choice. Just as our ancestors chose chieftains, clan leaders,
kings, high priests and eventually presidents and legislators.
Today, in America, we choose democracy. That is why it works. We choose
it of our own free will.
Free will is the oil that makes the machinery of democracy turn. With
out the oil, the machine freezes up.
If Iraq is going to emerge from this as a free country, the people of
Iraq are going to have to choose a form of government that suits them.
Right now, it looks like if you held an election the majority of the
people would vote to create a theocracy - a theocracy based on the tenets
of the conservative side of Islam. Probably Iraq's government would look
Apparently such a government is not acceptable - it would not be free.
Which brings up an interesting question:
"What do you call a country governed by a democracy that was installed
and is maintained at gunpoint?"
Free does not quite fit.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
No-show legislators deserve a pink slip
If most Texans did not show up for work for a week or so there would
be a pink slip waiting for them the next time they darkened the door at
the salt mine.
For most jobs you are hired to do specific tasks at specific times. Newspaper
reporters, plumbers, teachers and roughnecks all have a job to do at specific
place and time.
Even the politicians we elect to run our government offices have to show
up for work.
Apparently the work ethic does not run deep in the Democrat side of the
Texas House of Representatives.
Having lost the majority that allowed them to rule Texas since the dark
ages, the Democrats have apparently decided that if they cannot get their
way with votes they will take their marbles and go home.
That would be fine except that the House of Representatives cannot do
business without two-thirds of its members present.
According to an Associated Press report yesterday 53 House democrats
failed to show up for work yesterday in a planned walkout.
That was enough to shut down the House.
It is not how business is supposed to be done at our House of Representatives.
It is the equivalent of not showing up for work. In similar circumstances
most Texans would be fired.
The people of Texas ought to hand this bunch their pink slips at the
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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