Cracks in the System: Iran There and Gay Rights Here

This post will be a continuation of my last one, dealing with the people’s insurgency in Iran and the fight for equal rights here in America.

No surprise: it is being reported that Ayatollah Khamenei’s rival Mullah, Rafsanjani, will be supporting the massive protest in Iran today.  Quite frankly, this election dispute is a contest, a personal power struggle, between the two Ayatollahs.  Whether we have Ahmadinejad or Mousavi as figurehead Presidents is almost immaterial.  Their ideology and politics are essentially the same, although Ahmadinejad’s incendiary fervor is definitely off the deep end.  Their underlying beliefs, both national and international, are identical.  It is the Mullahs who rule Iran.  The people’s protests must move from election fraud to throwing out the corrupt clerics who rule Iran.

Dan Rather was on MSNBC yesterday, and he was not very optimistic about the outcome of this Iran uprising.  He said that similar to this uprising, the Czech revolt of 1956, the Chinese attempt at protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the attempted battle for freedom in Burma in 2007 were all crushed by their respective governments.  Included in these assaults on the protesters were serious, and successful, attempts to quash any media reports of the protests plus the government’s retaliatory responses.  True: in 1956, we did not have the internet, cell phones or Twitter.  Basically the same holds true for 1989.  Nonetheless, the media were thrown out of those countries and thus any reports of the events were not forthcoming.  So is Iran trying to play that same game today.  Not only have reporters been warned off covering the disputed elections, but Iran has cut off most access to the internet and cell phones.  But long live Twitter: they can not shut off that service.  Not yet.  Our very own State Department has requested, and been granted, that Twitter defer their shutdown for maintenance scheduled for this week so that the world can have some access to the events in Iran.  As Hillary Clinton said recently, and I paraphrase,  “I don’t know a Twitter from a Tweeter, but Twitter has been a window to the world as to what is going on in Iran.” In the New York Times today, Op-Ed contributor, Nicholas Kristof equates “tweets” as the bullets of modern warfare.

This communications crackdown IS an assault on one of the most fundamental rights every person in the world has: freedom of,  and access to, information.  What astounds me is the fact that the ruling entity in Iran has no second thoughts whatsoever about their election tactics and harsh and murderous actions following that election.  What does bother them, however, are the media reports that show their despicable stance on crooked elections and violence to subdue that justified outrage.  It is NOT the real substance of their policies that offends them, but the resulting publicity that will “give them a bad name”.  Hah!  With their restrictive, prejudicial policies they have given themselves their own bad name.

At any rate, Dan Rather believes that this uprising in Iran will be no more successful than those in Czechoslovakia, China or Burma.  I disagree.  A successful ending to these events in Iran will have to include a rebellion against the real ruler, i.e. the Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah.  This will be no easy feat.  The first crack, in the form of corrupt elections, has appeared.  However, how this uprising will end is dependent on the strength and fortitude of the people coupled with the ability for the lines of global communication to remain open.  Time will tell.

The outcome of gay Americans in their fight for equal rights is also dependent on how strong public opinion is in support of those rights.  President Obama has supported DOMA in the past.  This Defense of Marriage Act is, in reality, a conservative backlash argument, a sham, against equal gender rights disguised as an issue of  states rights versus federal law.  DOMA needs to be repealed and yesterday is not soon enough.  Unfortunately, even President Obama has been hiding behind this states’ rights argument.  Just like in Iran, we are not dealing with the basic substance of same sex marriage rights.  Instead, we are trying to prohibit equal rights by espousing a states’ rights stance.  People against gay marriage are twisting words, citing irrelevant political ideology, all in the hopes of getting the same end result —– no gay marriage.   That is my own personal take on this issue of same sex marriage.

Just like in Iran, this clamp down in America will not work.  Our legislators and people of all parties can use whatever semantics they create to try and fool us out of our Constitutional rights.  In the long run, it will not prevent freedom from winning the day.  President Obama made a start yesterday by signing an executive order giving same sex partners of federal workers some extended benefits.  This is the same “crack” in the system, the same first foot-in-the-door, in our fight for gay rights as was the public outcry to the election fraud in Iran.  But much more has to happen before the reality of true freedom and equality becomes a reality here and in Iran.

The following is a brief, but succinct editorial from the New York Times on President Obama’s actions yesterday:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/opinion/16tue1.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

We shall watch as both of these stories unfold.  Do not give me the unadulterated falsehood which the GOP espouse: the world needs democracy.  This is just a placebo fix, meaningless garbage and just another corner to hide in.  Democracy is rife with inconsistencies and twisted semantics.  The rights that are being fought for in Iran and America go much, much deeper than democracy; they are every human being’s absolute entitlements.

The cracks in our world are there.  They have surfaced.  Can these cracks expand to allow the people those rights with which they were born?  We will be vigilant in our watch, and as long as we can maintain the free transmission of information and ideas, we still have the chance for success.

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One Response to “Cracks in the System: Iran There and Gay Rights Here”

  1. @robotsoul Says:

    Great post, I am happy that you drew this analogy, it astounds me that we can see what is going on in Iran right now people fighting for even the semblance of rights against unquantifiable odds yet still ignore rights in America. There is nothing more quintessentially American that fighting for freedom. I hope that we can realize that universal civil rights is not a matter that is up for debate, it is not an issue that can be subject to a referendum or dictated by public will, it is a recognition of humanity. On the upside, President Obama has taken some (small) steps toward recognizing same-sex couples by signing the Domestic Benefits and Obligations Act. The act will extend certain benefits to the same-sex spouses of federal employees, here is more on the act: http://www.newsy.com/videos/first_step_or_broken_promise

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