Saturday, June 20, 2009

Democracy isn't easy

Democracy never comes easy. Throughout history, it has been earned, through tears and bloodshed. With the U.S., it came through years of revolution (and even then, countless more years until some were truly free). In Britain, it was centuries of civil strife that brought about an eventual democracy. In India, it took radical ideas like passive resistance to gain democratic rights and freedom -- but just because the people refused to use violence as a means to an end doesn't mean bloodshed wasn't spilled in the process.

I write this tonight because Iran is facing a crossroads. In a month's time, a week's time, perhaps even tomorrow, the people of that nation will have to decide: is democracy worth the bloodshed they have already seen, worth the bloodshed they are yet to see?

It's a dark question to have to ask. If given the choice, even some American citizens would opt out of democratic rights if it meant they're lives would be secure. No one wants to die for these rights; it is why we revere our fighting men and women, both past and present; for they are the ones ensuring our rights remain intact. We liberals often scoff at such comments made by conservatives, but it is true: without that security, the rights we have wouldn't come so easily to us.

Iranians are living proof of that tonight. The rights they are seeking are only going to be won through resistance to the Ayatollah, through showing him and other leaders of Iran that the people won't take having their rights stripped from them so easily.

Such action won't be easy to perform. The people have already seen death in their streets, bloodshed over the democratic rights that they seek.

There is something positive out of all of this though: despite the bloodshed, despite the repeated warnings by the Iranian powers-that-be, the people have not given up. They continue to march, to protest, to risk their lives for the rights they so desperately crave.

There's something inspiring in that.


Previously, I had written that the conservative politicians who were upset with Obama's cool attitude towards Iran -- his concern without condemnation -- was wrong. Tonight, I believe that Obama should make that condemnation after all. This is not a retraction; as I had written two nights ago, the situation warranted that American influence not affect the decision by the Supreme Leader of Iran to call the election fraudulent or fair. Since that time, the Ayatollah has called the election fair, and has threatened violence against his people.

That being the case, a condemning of Iranian leaders is very much warranted; and Obama has provided that condemning earlier this weekend. He should be commended for doing so.

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