I don't care who you are or what your politics might be, but there has to be a heart-pang of interest in what's happened in the past few days in Iraq. You can't escape the images from any news outlet. People voted, most for the first time in their lives.
Are they free? Obviously not just yet. But they're closer than they have ever been. I tried to put myself in their shoes and ask "If I thought I might be gunned down by an insurgent or in the path of a suicide bomber just for going to my local polling place, would I still go?" Not a question I've ever considered, and one which I hope to never face. But millions of Iraqis faced that same fear, yet managed to seize their right for a small chunk of democracy.
Ambrose Redmoon said that "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
Their courage throughout this ordeal has been overshadowed by the realities of war. A war that will always be debated and questioned, and perhaps rightly so. But my memory will include the long lines of Iraqis waiting to cast their ballots, and the thousands in the streets with ink on their thumbs (the proof that they had voted.)
It's one step in a process toward freedom. A process that is costly - both in dollars and in lives. I live in a place that makes it easy to forget the price paid for my freedom. I take it for granted, until I'm reminded by what I see happening in places where freedom is more the exception than the rule.
My freedom has been paid for more than once. Yes, by the millions who have served to defend & protect that freedom.
But even more important is the freedom I experience because of what took place on the Cross. A price that was paid for the millions that were to come. We can only hope, pray and trust that the price being paid today will generate and lead to a reality of freedom for generations of Iraqis to come.
One of many links with news about Iraqi elections.