A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 71 percent of people in Turkey and 67 percent in Egypt prefer a democratic form of government. And yet when it came time to vote, people used the ballot box to favor authoritarian leaders – Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Egypt and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.
Democracy is not just the will of the majority, it is also the art of choosing leaders who will work to uphold personal freedoms, rule of law, common good, and respect for minority rights. As an American in the age of Trump, I am perhaps not in any position to lecture Egyptians or Turks. Still, we need a conversation on what it truly means to be democratic.