Baby Steps

Progress, whether economic, political or social, takes time.  Real progress is the culmination of minute baby steps, all adding up to real change.  It does not happen overnight and often, the process is an arduous and  painful upheaval, fraught with much heartache.  But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  That light though, is no consolation to the people fighting the battle today.

I have found a parallel of political and social advancement between the current state of affairs in Iran and the gay movement here in America.  The obvious similarity is that both the Iranian people and gay people want justice, freedom and equality.  Both causes are rooted in an unalienable right and fight for these ideals.  Period.

The Iranians’ Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the head of government.  Ahmadinejad is basically a puppet of Khamenei and the Guardian Council.  Iran’s government is a theocracy, based on Muslim religious principles.  However, Khamenei is no  Ayatollah; he literally bought his “theological license”.  This has given him the power to, in reality, be the supreme MILITARY leader.  Religion’s great, but hey, state-backed firepower is so much more effective in the everyday ruling of a country and for personal accumulation of power and money, don’t you think?  Khamenei has used false credentials to install himself as the the top ruler of the heap —- a garbage heap.  Then he uses that phony religious credentialing as the basis for him to rule the country militarily.

Meanwhile, the people are feeling the pain.  They want their rights and freedom.  Eighty five percent of Iranis came out to vote last week, and now the results are being twisted.  The protests, a fundamental part of a true democracy, are being crushed, as is the access to information about events there.  This fight for justice has just begun.  Khamenei is politically petrified of his main rival. Ayotallah Rafsanjani.  Thus, the ruling body, the Guardian Council, will allow for a “limited” vote recount.  What?  Will they permit a recount only up to the point where Mousavi will overtake Ahmadinejad?  Isn’t that like being a little pregnant?  This election is just a baby step in the right direction towards achieving true justice.  The real bottom line is that it is a battle between the two Ayatollahs and their quest for ultimate power.  To the victor go the spoils.  Unfortunately, the people are going to have to pay the price for the antics of these two power-hungry prelates.

President Obama’s reaction to the election in Iran has been absolutely correct.  He has said that even though it appears that something does not smell right, it is up the the government and people of Iran to sort it out.  Their fight for right must come from within that country.  Plus, for the U.S. to insinuate itself in the internal affairs of Iran would simply serve to make us the enemy, rather than their own corrupt government.  So the battle must start in Iran and end there.  Any victory for human rights and political freedom would be meaningless unless it is fought by the people for the people.

Right here in America, we have our own fight for individual rights in the arena of fairness, both political and social, for the gay people of our country.  Today, President Obama will announce that he will allow gay and lesbian partners of federal employees to receive health and other benefits.  This is a start.  At least, by issuing this executive order, any future president will have to issue another executive order to rescind this one.  That would probably be political suicide.  We knew coming in to this presidency, that Obama never supported same sex marriage.  Rather, he backed civil unions for the gay people.  Further, he has so far been silent on the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.  Based on President Clinton’s messy and delusional foray into gays in the military, which was his first policy move when he took office, it is understandable that President Obama has held back on defining public policy in the arena of sexual politics.  Additionally, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is an outright assault on individual rights, as subtle as it pretends to be.  It is about as subtle as an elephant walking through a mine field.  But this is an area that will need to be dealt with because clearly, current policy is an infringement of individual rights.  Baby steps.  Inch by inch.  Unfortunately though, our gay and lesbian citizens justifiably want equality now but will have to endure further prejudice and humiliation before this process is complete.

Mark my words: in Iran and here in America the fight for equality and freedom WILL prevail.  True: I am mad as hell about the electoral shenanigans in Iran and the unwillingness here in America to extend Constitutional rights to all of our citizens.  But social change, which underlies and must precede  political or legal change, must run its course.  This is of no solace to those who want what is due them now.  Hold on (I know, easy for me to say).  It’s coming.  Once the issues are out there in the public arena, the necessary changes will happen.  After all, the leaders, whatever their intentions may be, good, bad or indifferent, will  succumb to the voice of the people.  The elective process is the basis for this.  No matter how corrupt and twisted the process may be, once the word is out that injustice has prevailed, the leaders, if they want to hold on to their power, will adapt.

In our world of little baby steps, the accumulative result will be a huge sea-change for the greater good.

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One Response to “Baby Steps”

  1. Natalie R Says:

    EXCELLENT blog. I see your point of course I do. The president’s order however does not include health benefits but it does include other benefits. Would Lyndon Johnson ever have signed the Civil Rights Act had civil rights leader decades before began their long hard slog to attain rights which should have been theirs in the first place? The answer, of course, is no. Power does not move until it MUST.

    Gay rights is comparatively new. Personally, I believe, Native Americans were the first and only ones to recognize a fundamental intrinsic natural difference in some of their tribesmen (and maybe women too) who did not have the same affectational preference. Some tribes let them be and even thought somehow they were endowed by a creator with something special. Hard for our western monotheistic minds to grasp.

    In western tradition, western thought and Biblical narrative made life for those who have a different sexual orientation a living hell. Not until the late 20th century and today in the 21st century with the advancement of genetics is a better understanding of sexuality even possible. How long did it take for Darwinian truth to be viewed as truth? Too long. Such is the nature of man … at least those who come from the monotheistic tradition. 5000 years of the retarded advancement of man courtesy of religious myth and superstition. Yes, I know they built great temples, churches and mosques. I’ll give them that. Why should I think that in two decades the crimes and negative repression visited upon those who harbor this genetic variation would be consummately removed. It takes time. I am happy things have moved as quickly this century as they have. Admittedly patience is not my strongest suit.

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