Published June 22, 2009
The Iranians struggling against an oppressive, conservative government have shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of crushing violence and the threat of arrest--or death. What can we learn from them? To be sure, they call to mind the courage of our founding generation, whose persistent resistance against the world's most powerful empire led to the formation of the world's most powerful empire.
They also show us how to see through the lies of partisan politics that pretend to illuminate yet only create clouds of fear. Mr. Ahmadinejad has continually defamed Mr. Moussavi, accusing him of corruption and alignment with terrorists. Our own recent election was full of falsehoods and baseless recriminations. Maybe every election is, but I continue to hope for campaigning based on issues and principles, rather than personality and innuendo.
Are either of Iran's potential winners good for America? Will a new president really spell change in a country ruled by conservative clerics? And what should we be doing about it? I keep reading messages on Twitter suggesting I can overlay my icon with green in one click to show my support for Iranian protesters. Seriously? Is that the best I can do? Because I'm pretty sure that won't do a thing. Nor do I assume that I can effect change by blogging about Iran. In fact, there's nothing any of us can really do; it's in the hands of Iran.
The conservative leaders in the United States would do well to remember this fact, as they assail Obama for not being tough enough on Iran. We've got to let this thing play out and work with whomever wins. The President is right to affirm his support for the right to protest peacefully and for the right of citizens to have a voice in their government. These are critical points, no matter the election's outcome.