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April 2nd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #803: "Egypt in turmoil, the sequel'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Protesters are taking to the streets of Cairo again. And I’m writing to the White House again. Seems like old times.

Dear Mr. President,

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m having trouble keeping up with all the revolutions. Now we have protesters back in Tahrir Square, apparently unsatisfied with the results of their previous revolution that cast out Hosni Mubarak. Or maybe this is a continuation of the previous revolution. I’m not sure precisely how one defines such things.

What I am sure of is this: Demanding change is one thing; deciding what you want from that change is another matter altogether.

People run into this problem all the time on a much smaller scale. (Smaller, in that most folks don’t have revolutions inside their houses. Uh…unless they have teenagers.) They rip apart their kitchens to remodel, then rip each other apart over whether they should go with the green or blue tile. They dump an old, lumpy sofa, only to spend months sitting on the floor to watch TV because they can’t settle the “sectional versus traditional” battle.

People even bail out of jobs in desk-tipping, paper-throwing, dramatic “I can’t take this anymore!” moments, and then realize over coming months that all jobs come with some unpleasantness. That’s why we call them jobs. If they were always fun, we’d call them pogo sticks.

So I’m not surprised to see that many of the folks in the Middle East who were just days ago screaming for change are now struggling to define just what they meant. Heck, if you think about it, we’ve done much the same here. You swept into office on the whole notion that you would change Washington, and now more than half way through your term…well, I don’t want to be unkind, but if some congressman had been put on ice in the 1980’s and were thawed out now, I’m pretty sure he could go right to work with no real suspicion that anything was different.

Revolutions are easy, when you think about it; just rile folks up against all the things they don’t like. But revolutions with meaning? Those are harder, and in fairness to all the folks in Egypt, that’s really what they were after in the first place, wasn’t it? And such revolutions are often defined by what happens long after the chanting protesters and waving signs are gone.

So what are you doing with your Saturday? I’m going to guess that you’ve got some Final Four watching on the agenda, so I won’t call. But if you get a break between games, you can give me a buzz. I’ll be around.

Regards,
Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Jo Ann

    Tom,
    This letter has to be on my top 10 list.

    April 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm |