We take for granted what the Middle East is bravely fighting and dying to win

It is a laughably ironic situation that Americans are, on one hand, praising the successes of the Tunisian and Egyptian protestors in their struggle for a democratic world, but on the other hand, we have Democratic representatives boycotting the state legislature of Wisconsin, and the remaining 19 Republican representatives deciding to go ahead and continue passing policies in a truly non-diverse, dictatorial manner.

We are praising potential democracies when we make a charade out of our democratic government. There is a lesson to be learned from these young radicals halfway across the world.

Protestors in Bahrain, Libya, Morocco and Iran have marched, squatted and fought in the face of tear gas, concussion bombs and even real bombs. More than 200 deaths in the bombings in Libya against peaceful protestors is a sharp, wrenching reminder of the cost of reform. Democracy comes with the price of blood.

Politicians here cannot go a day without finding insult and injury. The unwarrantedly long floor-fight in the House of Representatives on Feb. 18 had politicians revealing past abortions and referring to a certain spending measure as “an orgy of self-congratulation.”

We need to stop boasting of our right to free speech if this is the dialogue that our representatives engage in. It is disgraceful.

We see young, enlivened and empowered individuals in other countries taking up the name of democracy, holding it up at a level more precious than their own lives. They will die for the ability to march, to speak, to govern. Years of living under corrupt, oppressive dictators has compelled them to fight. They were successful because their governments could not stifle their numbers or their persistence. They showed a speechlessly inspiring solidarity.

Here, we have only 40.3 percent of our eligible voting population dropping ballots into the polls, according to the United States Elections Project; this is the turnout for electing the President of the United States of America.

Let’s not discuss our turnout for senatorial and representative elections. Solidarity aside, we cannot even achieve a 51 percent majority.

What right do we have as Americans to praise the democratic efforts of those in the Middle East?

Instead of claiming ourselves experts in democracy and, in a very elitist way, granting praise to these protestors, maybe we should learn the definition of democracy from them.

They sure seem to have a better handle on the meaning of freedom – and how we should use it, not waste it.