Before vote, we need courage, patience

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In just two short days, Iraqis will go to the polls to vote amid dangers most of us can only imagine.

Leading up to Sunday’s election, schools that were to be used as polling stations have been bombed; explosions have ripped through the a political party headquarters; Iraqi and American soldiers continue to be attached.

The threat of insurgents’ bombs and snipers’ bullets hangs over Iraqi citizens’ heads as they try to decide whether to brave the polls and cast their votes that will create a 275-member National Assembly and regional legislatures.

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The struggle for democracy has never been easy &045;&045; from our American revolution to just a few decades ago, when marchers seeking the right for blacks to vote were beaten as they left the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., and college students hoping to register African-Americans to vote were murdered.

On Wednesday, President Bush, speaking in a press conference at the White House, asked Iraqis to have the courage to vote &045;&045; and asked Americans to be patient with the process of making the country a democracy, even in the face of tragedies like Thursday’s, when 31 troops were killed in a helicopter crash and another five were killed by insurgents.

It is indeed a time for patience and for courage. As Americans, we have to supply the patience &045;&045; and the prayers. Our job is easy. Imagine the terror and uncertainty Iraqis are feeling, and pray for courage &045;&045; and for peace.