Social Psych

Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at,, or

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Potential Perils of Democracy

The new Iraqi Constitution will be revealed within the next 36 hours. We do not yet know its language nor its specific provisions although several recent compromises have been publicly discussed.

One of the key points to be settled involves the role of Islamic Law within the new government. The debate rages between those who want religious fundamentalism embedded within the very fabric of the state and those who reject the strict religious control that colored the political structure of the Taliban, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Nigeria.

The American push for democratization of the Middle East means that whatever the citizens will, the world must accept. Any other response renders "democracy" warped, as a weapon of outside forces, and the basic concept of self-determination nullified. There is always the risk, when allowing anyone or any nation, to determine their own definition of acceptable behavior, that the result will not be what was expected.

The United States must decide whether they can live with an ally who denigrates women to second class status. Can we accept the responsibility for having birthed a government where thieves have their hands amputated, where female adulterers are stoned, and where criminals are summarily executed?

Did the more than 18,000 male and female American lives lost have the aim of creating a country where women are not allowed to walk alone, expose their faces, obtain an education, or drive a car?

This administration has committed to expanding freedom throughout the world. Saturated with the narrow and naïve view of their own conservative values, they could not conceive a scenario where different values would predominate. But choice is always a two-edged sword.

If Iraq becomes a fundamentalist Islamic society, the U.S. must decide whether the concept of democracy, no matter how distasteful the result, is the supreme goal.

If not, what is the answer? Keep invading until we get it "right"?