The Egyptian Situation:

A small group of women activists in Egypt -- 200 or so by their own count -- discovered yesterday that the pro-democracy revolution did not suddenly alter society. Blogger "Texas Sparkle" has an update on the constitutional questions in Egypt.

The all-male legal committee that was convened to amend the country's constitution has drafted an amendment that prohibits a man with a foreign wife from running for president. The amendment's wording makes it clear that a woman running for president isn't even envisaged.
This is a better situation than it looks, though: you don't erect defenses against something you never imagined. Future Egyptian women of courage will not be troubled by an amendment banning them from having a foreign wife if they want to run for President.

There's always a long road in front of any movement that wants to create significant changes in society. Political changes are usually easier to effect, because you need only sway relatively few people -- the right few. A social change requires swaying at least a plurality of the entire population, and a solid majority if it is to be a secure and lasting change.

Different toolsets are involved. People try to change society with laws, but that only leads to culture wars. What really changes society is either personal interest, or aesthetics.

That is, either you convince people that the change you propose will help them; or you convince them that it is a more beautiful and perfect way to live. That takes time, and it takes courage, and it takes conviction. We won't see it quickly in the Middle East, but we didn't see it quickly here either.

There is one further warning. Political change moves fast, but social changes move slowly -- with one exception. There is a switch in the human mind between peace and war: that one flips. The person who wishes to pursue social change must therefore push slowly and constantly, without flipping the "fight" switch. Few changes that have pushed past that point have won their cause, and those only that have had the support of the warrior class: for example, the President's and National Guard's backing of the push to force desegregation here in America. So far the army in Egypt has intervened to stop violence against women in the square at least twice, but it's not clear that they're devoted to the principle, as opposed to having a general (and praiseworthy) desire not to see women brutalized.

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