Protests. Warnings. Outrage. Denials. Empathy. Sympathy. More outrage. More protests.
Jena, Louisiana? No, Columbia University. Guess who’s coming to speak? Good ol’ that guy whose name no one can pronounce (or, as our syntactically challenged contemporaries are wont to say, that guy who no one can pronounce his name). He’s an Iranian. He is religious. He is in some respects a dictator or at least the head of a dictatorial regime, and he has said a number of stupid things. He supports terrorist groups. He has been meddling in Iraq. What’s to like about this guy?
Well, being a simpering, liberal, wishy-washy, fraidy-cat kind of lefty comsimp, I want to take a look at each of these charges against Ahmeddinajad (oh, did I mention I speak a little and read a little Urdu, a language that’s borrowed tons of words from Farsi, his language, so pronouncing his name is not a problem for me?)
First: he’s Iranian. OK, so are lots of people but we don’t refuse to listen to them b/c of that.
Second: he’s religious. Well, you almost lost me there but I have a cousin who’s a Christian minister and I’ll bet most of us have some religious people in our lives, so we can get along with them (unless, of course, it matters greatly to you WHICH religion it is, in which case you shouldn’t even be reading the blog of an effete, ennervated character like myself). I do tend to agree with Bill Maher: all religions are equal – equally crazy, but that’s kind of the nature of the beast. Rationality isn’t religion’s strong suite.
Third: he’s a dictator. Ohhhh, that oughta rule him out right away b/c this country NEVER listens to dictators. We might give them the most advanced weaponry we have to offer, we might train their police and military in how to crush political opponents, we might even offer to share our hard-won intelligence with them…. but LISTEN to them??? NEVER!!!
Enough of that b.s. Dictator, shmictator.
Fourth: he’s said some stupid things. Here I agree: we should never listen to the head of a country who says stupid things. Let’s see…. where should I start? With the head of Iran? Hey, gang, I’ve got an idea! Let’s start right here in our own country! Oh, that’s right, slightly under half the voters ELECTED our guy…… TWICE!!!!! (We need a national IQ test).
The most infamous stupidity this clown uttered was to deny the Holocaust. People who do that sink to the lowest level of the county dump, along with David Duke and other assorted weirdos who scurry around the edges of said dump. But this guy is the head of a country. Now what? Let me see if I can think of another head of state whom we deal with who has either denied the Holocaust or done something equally stupid…….. while I’m thinking, let’s go on to……
Fifth: he supports terrorist groups. Let’s start with our own country. We have several terrorist groups here. They are weak b/c most Americans have hope, see a future, and access to the basics of life, and have civic rights. However, in other countries similar groups gain lots of grass-roots support b/c people are desperate. Slimy politicians use these groups to their own ends. Can you think of any terrorist groups we’ve supported? (Remember, we don’t CALL them terrorist groups, but then neither do the supporters of the groups we see clearly as terrorists)
Sixth: he’s been meddling in Iraq. So have we…. in fact, we invaded the country. In fact, we had no reason to invade it. In fact, if another country were to invade and occupy a country in our backyard, we would declare war (remember the Monroe Doctrine? Probably not). Iraq and Iran fought a terrible war recently. Co-religionists of the Iranians have suffered greatly in Iraq under the now-deceased-so-we-can-never-get-any-more-information-out-of-him dictator, Saddam Hussein, so that’s another interest they have. Plus, Iraq is on their border.
None of this is to excuse the maniacal Ahmeddinajad. But he is a head of state. We can restrict certain things. But if we simply refuse to listen to him, to talk to him, we’ll be doing the same thing ideologues of both the Left and the Right do: stay ignorant of possible enemies and possible friends, so when the big blow-up occurs, we SO SURPRISED!
Whether it’s with your kids, the school board, your spouse, your in-laws, the dictator over the border, reach out and touch. Stay in touch. Communicate. As much as I despised the apartheid regime of South Africa, I was leary about the sanctions against them. We needed to talk. We needed to send a Black ambassador. Stay involved, in touch, know them. Let them know some things about us. As the saying goes: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.