The Need for Solidarity

I think what we are seeing in Iran is the beginning of its own color revolution. Within the seas of green crowds protesting what was surely a manipulated if not stolen election, the portents for change and democratic reform are lingering.

So where is our champion of change, our master of moral certitude? Where is the man who heralded the cause of self-determination not a month ago in Cairo?

Here is a quote from the Wall Street Journal today regarding the comments of one world leader:

“These elections are an atrocity,” he said. “If [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad had made such progress since the last elections, if he won two-thirds of the vote, why such violence?” The statement named the regime as the cause of the outrage in Iran and, without meddling or picking favorites, stood up for Iranian democracy.

That president was Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Journal is right – Obama has abdicated Iran, and he is leaving its people high and dry in Persia.

Some prominent analysts say that identifying the US with the pro-freedom cause could hurt it. Iran is a proud culture with deep anti-Western and anti-American sentiment, so they say. Signs of solidarity from the US could turn the movement around. While I am willing to accept that this might be true, it is at best a possibility. What is certain, is that by treading lightly around such an utter atrocity and sham, we are committing a tragic transgression that runs against the grain if our deepest ideals – ideals that Mr. Obama has said he wants to restore America’s moral authority to espouse.

Here is a quote from Mr. Obama’s speech in Cairo:

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things:  the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose.  These are not just American ideas; they are human rights.  And that is why we will support them everywhere.

Mr. President, if you are going to say these things, then you are accountable. The Iranian government has violated every one of these “human rights,” and yet it seems that “we will support them everywhere” is a highly qualified statement. Either Iran doesn’t qualify as “everywhere,” or “support” entails small statements of disdain for a far larger crisis.

I am not one who buys into the dream of creating Democracy abroad and nation-building a utopia. That was actually George Bush. But I think that Barack Obama is trying to adopt that lofty goal into his hopeful rhetoric, while commandeering a much more cynical foreign policy.

Yet even worse than being hypocritical in execution, he is simply wrong regardless of his ideology. No matter the level of his commitment to providing tangible aid to pro-freedom Iran, there is no reason for him to have been THIS silent. People are DYING for speaking out for civil liberty. Words ARE powerful, and they cost nothing to deploy.

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