When George Tiller, the late term abortionist, was murdered, the Left cried foul on conservative commentators. When a mentally ill, racist World War II vet shot up the Holocaust Museum, they declared that Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly were dangerous and conservative speech that criticized controversial issues was a safety risk (in so many terms). Scum like David Neiwert and his blogging allies, some who go so far as to believe that radio hosts are out to murder liberals, are not looking out for the safety of abortionists or museum security guards. They're out to smear the conservative movement with an image of radical violence and seething hate.
Then came the “victory” by Iran's incumbent president. The the riots that have gone on for three straight days are the collective anger and frustration of an entire generation waking up to the reality of the Mullahs and their Islamic “republic”. For years, the conservative movement and foreign policy hawks have pushed for support of Iranian reformers and democracy activists. The Left and so-called “realists” has opined that we should not provoke Iran, lest they do something bad, like support terrorists in Lebanon (which they've done since day one), or attack our troops (which they've done since day one), or work on a secret nuclear weapons program (which they started under the guise of conforming to non-proliferation). They called President Bush's tough words “cowboy diplomacy” and condemned them, blaming his words for everything from terrorism to North Korea's belligerence.
Now, three days into the riots and a potential major challenge to the Mullahs, the importance of words comes back into play, but all we have is silence. The White House said that it wants to work with Iran DESPITE the fact the nation is burning, the election was a sham and democracy activists are being beaten in the streets or disappeared into Iran's horrific prison system. My fellow conservatives didn't find this surprising from Mr. Obama, nor do we find the silence of the Left surprising either. Despite talk of freedom and democracy at home, when it happens abroad, we must be cautious as not to anger petty tyrants with dreams of regional or global hegemony.
Words are not just words on the international stage, unlike at home when it's by TV personalties or bloggers. Rachel Maddow can say “teabaggers” all she wants. Olby can claim fascism one year and become a fascist the next year. The NYT can whine about conservative hate. The National Review can defend marriage. Free speech in the press and in journals is just that, free. It is under no obligation to conform to the government because, for the most part, it does no harm, despite the fantasies of David Neiwert.
But when it comes to critical times in the world, like that of the Iranian riots, words mean a lot. The Left had a point about Bush's words, even if we disagreed with their assessment. Churchill's soild belief in victory helped win a war. Carter's words on the Shah brought him down and brought about the Mullahs. Reagan's “tear down this wall” energized an already kinetic Soviet dissent movement. H.W. Bush's words about rising up against Saddam ended up getting thousands of Shia killed when he didn't back them up. Clinton's appeasement of North Korea and words of support ended up biting us in the ass when it exploded it's first atomic weapon. What our leaders say on the stage affect outcomes, push our friends or provoke our enemies. And in the case of Iran, we could really use the Left's feverish support of direct democracy and liberal freedom. This is a time to support a people repressed by a regime both the Left and Right despises. Let their paranoia and sarcasm quiet for a moment to help Iran achieve some freedom.
America should stand together on this...even if the Left thinks of us as radical individualist Nazi Christianist racist capitalists (and all the universe ending contractions that creates).
ICYMI: Jeffrey Ostler, The Lakotas and the Black Hills - At Amazon, Jeffrey Ostler, *The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground*.
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