Don't scratch that Iranian scab. Let the sore heal a little longer.
Generally, I find myself in agreement with Washington Post op-ed contributor E. J. Dionne, Jr.. A recent column concerned the rousing the rabble are raising in Iran over what appears to be a rigged, and quite possibly stolen election. It was the tag of his June 22 piece, "Obama's Iran Dilemma" "America's bottom line must be: no matter how committed we are to negotiation, we are also committed to democracy." That sent a cold chill tracing my spine. It was the phrase "committed to democracy." You see, regardless how strictly one adheres to the rules of logic, ya just can't get a right answer when any one of the premises is all wrong.
My current main ragging is all about healthcare reform; the desperate need for it, and why any actual "reform" must be as bold as it is thorough. Call this then a causus interruptus.
I believe evidence should always trump beliefs based on fantasy and hopes and aspirations. And the evidence is manifest: "we" simply are not "committed to democracy." That's if by "we" we mean, by and large, the overwhelming majority of whatever composes us, as in U.S., and if committed is defined as going much out of our way to object to anything that transgresses the notion.
All the anecdotal evidence I've ever been able to accumulate strongly suggests that if Americans are committed to anything, it's a commitment to shucking as much responsibility as possible. (Parenthetical Note: Every association to "we" and "Americans" and the like I include here is based on the normal distribution that occurs within a normal bell curve. The bulk of the population falls within the middle quintiles and the wackoes occupy the slivers of the two tails at each end.)
And perhaps two of the most egregious elements of this overriding quest for irresponsibility have to do with history, and not wanting to bother learning it, and falling into the delusion of thinking that just because we don't want to bother learning it, or remembering much, no other peoples do either.
A perfect example: Few in this country recall reading about the horrific ethnic cleansing promulgated by President Andrew Jackson, but the descendants of those he brutally victimized remember them. No matter that he had made earlier treaties with the native American tribes of the Southeast, in return for their active participation in his military campaigns against the British and the Spanish. He broke every single one of them. The Trail of Tears remains this country's most despicable moment. At least, nothing we ever did as government policy ever exceeded our brutality over an entire people.
The north Georgia mountains had been the home of the Cherokee for as long as any history has ever been able to record. They were a highly advanced and civilized people. They had built roads, schools and Christian churches, and governed themselves with a representative form of government. But when gold was rumored to have been discovered on the land they occupied, land, by the way, that Jackson agreed was theirs via the many treaties he had personally negotiated, the Cherokee had to go. The "Indian Removal Act" of 1830, pushed through congress and quickly signed by Jackson, would force all non-White natives to west of the Mississippi.
One clue to the level of Cherokee civility, rather than take up arms, they took their case all the way to the US Supreme Court. So what if the Court found for them, Jackson's response was, "John Marshall [Chief Justice] has made his decision, now let him enforce it." So, at the points of bayonets, the now-shackled indigenous people were marched from their homeland in 1835 the thousand miles to the Oklahoma Territories. Of the 17,000 who began the trek, it is estimated that fewer than 5,000 survived the ordeal. US Army records yet remain, telling how, when members of the group perished, they were prohibited from even pausing to bury their dead.
To this very day, many of the descendents of those Jackson so terribly and completely betrayed refuse to accept or in any manner even touch a $20 dollar bill; the bill with Jackson's likeness etched on the front.
I bring this us to point out that just because most of us do not, many, many others do remember their history and the pain of the atrocities official US policy visited upon them.
Same old, same old in Iran
If they, those under the middle of the bell curve who make up the Iranian population, do not like us, or hold us in low regard, if they think of us as the "Great Satan," they have good reason to feel as they do.
For openers, Iran and Persia refer to the same people and geography the same way that England and Britain does. But unlike almost every people and geography on earth, the civilization goes back farther, over 5,000 years, all the way to around 3200 BCE. They are fully entitled to everyone's presumption of respect. Indeed, it was Cyrus the Great who circa 600 BCE was responsible for the written articulation of the world's first declaration of human rights. (The Cyrus cylinder containing the decrees is today held in the British Museum.)
And yet, just two months following his taking the oath of office, in April of 1953, President Eisenhower signed off on Operation Ajax, the classified clandestine CIA operation that overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, and installed Shah Reza Pahlavi as the country's reigning monarch. The motivation behind the intrigue was oil. Iran possessed the world's fifth largest reserves, and Mossadegh threatened to nationalize them.