In his press conference yesterday, President Obama was stellar. Almost all of the questions had to do with Iran and our own struggle for a health care plan. I will deal with the issues of Iran today, and save health care for a later post .
The almost universal political reality is one of power- hungry leaders acting for their own good and survival as the ruling party; their instincts are to preserve and protect themselves and not to deliver the democratic principles that underscore the type of government that the people want. What we have are scoundrels out for themselves, dedicated to the maintenance of their thrones, rather than getting to the nitty gritty of a fair and just government. The allegiance is to the framework of power rather than to the substance of running a society. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.
Similarly, we have our own scoundrels right here in America. Yesterday, President Obama gave the Party of No what it wanted: strong language, such as “condemn”, “appall” and “outrage”, to describe his reaction to the stealing of the Iran elections and the subsequent attack on protesters. Don’t hold your breath: the GOP will still not be satisfied. Their first and foremost objective is to bring Obama down. No matter how honest, effective or appropriate our President’s policies might be, the Republicans, with their main objective of antagonism and obstructionism, just want Obama to fail. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham will never back off of their attack of President Obama, even if their logic is unfounded. Whatever the issue at hand, these close-minded senators will take the opposite position of our President, damn the effects on the people. They do not care one whit about whether or not the people of our country, or Iran, will get the help they need. These purposes are secondary to destroying the Obama administration and reclaiming themselves as the ruling party.
But our President was strict, as usual. He said — correctly — that ever since the Iranian election and resulting protests, he HAS voiced a strong and consistent opinion against the government’s attack on free speech and the right of assembly. He acknowledged that what is going on in Iran is “profound”. What he would not capitulate to is the next step, i.e. creating retaliatory consequences in response to Iran’s internal turmoil. Since we do not, as yet, know how this civil unrest will play out, our consequential options are not clear right now. What? Does the GOP disagree with that careful, wait-and-see attitude, or do they think the U.S. should start yet ANOTHER war in the Mideast? Just like Dick Cheney seems to want another terrorist attack on our soil to prove his opinion that President Obama has weakened us, so too do the Republicans want us interfering in what is clearly a national problem in Iran. This unwanted interference would definitely muddy the waters for the freedom fighters in Iran and perhaps then the ruling Mullahs WOULD have some basis for calling the unrest a force of outside manipulation, rather than a deep response to the injustice in their own country. The GOP’s policies are stupid and selfish, totally aimed inward at their own survival rather than turned outward to govern effectively. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.
There is a larger issue regarding Iran that comes into play: secular democracy versus religious democracy. This is a much more esoteric, philosophical issue with relevant opinions on both sides. I will save that debate for another time. Specifically, in Iran there exists a supposed religious democracy, not a theocracy. The Iranians are a profoundly religious people; they are NOT protesting against their religious hierarchy. What they are battling is the abuse of their democratic principles. Crackdowns against human rights are not acceptable whether or not the leader is a religious cleric or a secular politician. A scoundrel is a scoundrel is a scoundrel. Ayatollah Khamenei is a scoundrel, as is Ahmadinejad. So while we may debate whether or not a democracy can truly be a democracy if it is within the framework of a religious construct, what is going on in Iran is a fight for DEMOCRATIC principles. The religion argument will have to wait for another day.
President Obama made it quite clear yesterday that the path available to Iran in handling this internal civil unrest will dictate how the international community will react. The legitimacy of the Iranian elections and its government’s subsequent actions in dealing with the protests will determine Iran’s viability in the world at large. President Obama spoke of Iran’s obligations to its own people, in terms of assuring them their basic human rights, as the first part of the overall blueprint of adhering to international standards of fair and just governance. Internal actions will effect external consequences.
Please read Roger Cohen of the New York Times:
But our President is no fool. He is well aware of the political antics in Washington. His dedication to doing what is good and right will supercede the selfish intentions of our Washington legislators. They can bait him all they want; he will not jump to premature decisions that could endanger us as harmfully as our foray into Iraq has. Eric Clapton, in his mournful ode “Here in Heaven” to his young son who died after falling out of a window, had to reconcile his unending grief with some sort of peace for himself here on earth. His conclusion was that “I know I don’t belong here in Heaven”. He recognized the need for time, place and perspective. So must we in our response to the events in Iran. Yes, we can wear green, as does Senator Barbara Mikulski, to show our compassion for and unity with the Iranians. Yes, we can speak openly and loudly about the injustice going on in Iran. Yes, we can follow the incredible reporting by Andrew Sullivan on the events in Iran (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com). Yes, in the words of NPR’s “Writer’s Almanac” with Garrison Keillor, we should all “be well, do good work and stay in touch.” Whether or not the Iranian freedom movement will succeed, or go underground and lie dormant for years once again, or totally die out, is not ours to call or determine now.
Democracy and freedom are quirky, not perfect and certainly not easy to obtain and maintain. The fight must come from within. What we certainly do not need are internal (to Iran) scoundrels crushing the people’s democratic rights and external scoundrels ensuring a total collapse of the deep-founded quest for personal rights. Barack Obama’s sense of time, place and perspective is indeed intact. No scoundrel is our President Obama. That role has been filled by the GOP and Ayatollah Khamenei. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.
In case any of you are having some difficulty with my use of the term “scoundrel”, I cite two more examples of despicable scoundrels from today’s news.
First, read about the “Disappearing Governor”, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford:
As if it wasn’t bad enough that he deserted his state and citizens, his disappearance was also quite the slap in the face to his wife and four sons. Dirty, rotten scoundrel.
Secondly, there was a release of more information from the Nixon tapes:
What a statesman! What a human being! Trashing Jews by holding them responsible for all of the anti-Semitism since the beginning of time. Reducing women to the sexual objects that they are. Blaming the efforts to end the war in Viet Nam as purely a means of political advancement rather than the will of the people. Sound familiar? Dirty rotten scoundrel.
If you should have any further doubt as to what a scoundrel is, do get in touch with me.