The unrest in Egypt should be a wakeup call for the entire free world. The desire by an oppressed people to want freedom is human nature and should be no surprise. No one wants to be oppressed. The internet, the rise of social networking, the ability with the click of a mouse to see how a free people live is enough to make any populace want to replace their oppressive government with a government that recognizes and respects its people and human dignity.
Only a new Egyptian government will satisfy protesters. The Mubarak regime has replaced its faithful with new faces that have not satisfied the protesters. Just as the people of Egypt must learn that changing governments is not a simple matter, President Mubarak must realize that his days are numbered and that a negotiated transition that takes place sooner rather than later is the only right course of action. But when Mubarak is gone he must be replaced with someone else and that is a major problem because while there are many pretenders there is no one who has emerged as an acceptable leader to the many forces at play in Egypt's drive for freedom.
But the cost of freedom and democracy is not served up easily. Lurking in the background of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and ready to strike in other Middle Eastern countries are Islamic extremists, similar to those in Iran, who seek to turn the governments of those nations to a new form of oppression based on outrageous religious beliefs that subjugate women and impose inhumane laws and punishment on those who don't "obey."
The United States has a lesson to learn from all of this. The U.S. support for the oppressive rule of Mubarak was in conflict with the basic tenants of what our nation is all about, freedom. Our constitution sets up a limited federal government with specific powers. Any powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved to the states. Our Bill of Rights extends to the American people freedoms and protections from unreasonable government intrusion by guaranteeing the right to free speech, freedom of religion, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure. The U.S. has a razor thin tight rope to cross when it supports governments that don't respect the basic rights of its people. It was only a matter of time before the bottom fell out, and the federal government should have seen it coming.