Though I definitely think a revolution was in order, I don’t think Egypt is ready for democracy. Democracy is not simply casting a ballot. And it’s definitely not raging in Tahrir Square every Friday. Democracy is a way of life that presupposes a relatively educated population, separation of church and state, tolerance for minorities, and patience! Democracies are known to be the slowest decision-making bodies on the planet, because there isn’t one man in control hastily calling all the shots.
Most of all, democracy is NOT the only legitimate form of government. We don’t all have to be the US or the UK or France (which still don't get democracy completely right, by the way). I think there’s something to be said for a benevolent dictatorship, which is what I think should have happened here. Something slightly along the lines of Nasser's revolution in 1952. Rather than an entire people rising up to overthrow the cancer that was Mubarak, I think it would have been better if a well-intentioned, educated corps of liberals ousted Mubarak and set up a mildly authoritarian state—one which would gradually prepare the people for democracy by erecting an effective education system, increasing literacy, making religion a private issue, discrediting the Brotherhood’s ideas, and creating an economy based on manufacturing, not just pyramids. Only then should we even begin to think about democratizing Egypt. Any time before that, and Egypt could very well end up looking like Iran.
I do apologize if I’m sounding overly-pessimistic. And I by no means seek to be the prophetess of doom. It's just that I have a tendency to see politics as a choice between greater and lesser evils. I realize that there are extremely well-educated and intelligent liberal Egyptians out there capable of running the world, not just Egypt. Yet they are disadvantaged in many ways, and severely outnumbered by the un(der)educated religious masses. These are the people I’m worried about. The people who could easily be bamboozled into into voting for religious zealots.
*Please feel free to agree, disagree and debate.