Democracy's Hour

The Christian Science Monitor, May 23, 1991 | Go to article overview

Democracy's Hour


'PEOPLE, your government has returned to you."

These words, spoken by playwright-president Vaclav Havel to his fellow citizens two months after the November 1989 "velvet revolution" in Prague, were taken to heart not only by Czechs, but by people across the globe waking to the idea that totalitarianism need not be a permanent condition for people and nations.

In 1991, the idea of democracy is on the march. Marxism has been discredited by one of the most basic litmus tests around - practical experience. President Bush this week called on Fidel Castro, one of the few remaining committed Marxists, to open up Cuba's frozen political system. On Tuesday, Ethiopia's President Mengistu - a Marxist whose rule has led to mass starvation in East Africa - fled his country.

As today's Monitor series on political "Global Frontiers" notes, efforts in El Salvador to include labor unionists in the political process, and a freer press in Algeria, are examples of a larger, worldwide impulse for greater democratic freedoms. The fact that the Soviet Union sided with the West in the coalition against Saddam Hussein's aggression made a "new world order" at least temporarily possible.

Yet it is far too early to announce, as some would, the "triumph of democracy" in today's world. The failure of Marxism hardly means the automatic ascendancy of an idea as complex and as grounded in Western values and culture as democracy. Democracy has long been described as fragile, as an "experiment." Abraham Lincoln noted that democracy is always "one generation away from extinction echoing the Founding Fathers' Puritan-rooted concern about the corruptibility of human nature, and also implying that s elf-government in this world is not simply a "state of nature" that can be accepted unconsciously, but is something that must be learned and worked at. Democracy is not a mechanism; it must have a soul.

Tides of feeling must be examined. Optimism is not an accurate barometer. In the early 1950s there was great hope in some internationalist quarters for a new world brotherhood. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Democracy's Hour
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.