“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
“A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.” ~ A. Philip Randolph
Apparently, the protests against Ordinance 64 in Anchorage have gone the way of many American protests in recent years: The reds are bussing people in from churches in nearby cities. By doing this, the antis are creating the appearance that the majority of people in Anchorage are against Ordinance 64.
Just in case you didn’t read my previous post, this ordinance is intended to expand the anti-discrimination law that is currently on the books by adding wording that would prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Now let me pause here. I am a big believer in free speech and the right to protest, but I am sorely dismayed by two things: Individuals who are not actually living in Anchorage are being allowed to voice their opinions in the open forum. This hardly seems to be fair play. The forum was created as a way to allow those individuals who live in Anchorage to voice their opinion before a vote is taken. The people from outlying areas are forcing an outcome that is not based on real data.
Now you may be thinking, ‘why doesn’t the pro side bus in some people?’ Well, I could respond that such a move is not normally employed by the pros, or if you will, those for the ordinance guaranteeing basic civil rights to all people. But that isn’t entirely true, and we all know it. Which brings me to the second things that dismays and disheartens me: Why do people who feel strongly about passing this ordinance not get out and join the protests?
As Janson commented on my earlier post:
I think the blue-crowd needs to remember that you have to show up and you have to be present to push for change. The reds know this. Every year I see anti-abortion demonstrations on campus. This is fine by me; they have a right and frankly I love to see students taking an active political stand in support of their beliefs (even if I disagree with them or disagree with the Rhetorical strategies they sometimes deploy). But when’s the last time I’ve seen a well-organized, effective Pro-Choice rally? Just for the sake of supporting Pro-Choice rights? How about, um… never? Maybe back at Florida State? Around 1994?
I rarely see proactive liberal demonstrations. A few Bush or Iraq protests are all I’ve seen in recent years. How about instead of arguing against something or someone, we argue for something? More pro-actively, more civically?
He’s right. The left doesn’t just protest for the sake of protest any more, and those of us who call ourselves liberal, pro-choice, pro-human rights need to remember that the opposition shows us time after time just how well organized they are. That type of willingness on their part to rush to the site of any protest is something that we on the other side should take note of.
If homosexuality is a disease, let’s all call in queer to work: “Hello. Can’t work today, still queer.” ~ Robin Tyler
Nevertheless, I still hold that some of the opposition’s signs are more ludicrous than effective. This one strikes me as particularly funny: “I was born Asian. You choose to be Gay,” as the picture on the right shows. My response, as partially posted on Janson’s blog is twofold: “Well, I was born Asian, and I choose not to be stupid, uninformed, closed-minded, and bigoted.”
(And what’s with the peasant hat?)
And let’s not forget our science, people. Homosexuality is not a choice for most people. It is something with which they are born. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how homosexuality tends to run in some families. And I would contend that that is a strong case for nature not nurture, because in some of the families that I know of, those who are gay, hide it out of fear. These people will come out to their friends, but not to their families because they are afraid of becoming outcasts.
We still have so much more to do until more of those people on the anti side of the fence realize that homosexuality is not an abomination before god. If the god of the New Testament is a loving god, how then do these people justify the hatred that they spew in the name of god?
“When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensable of duties.” ~ Marquis de Lafayette
As for protests, the situation in Iran seems to be taking a turn for the worse. Approximately three thousand protesters defied the ban imposed by the Supreme Leader, and took to the streets once again. The police responded with tear gas, water cannons and guns, but no fatalities have been reported. Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghadam said on state television that officials “acted with leniency but I think from today on, we should resume law and confront more seriously . . . The events have become exhausting, bothersome and intolerable.”
An MSNBC report from around 3:30 EST states that Mousavi has indicated a willingness to become a martyr. Mousavi is still demanding an annulment of the June 12 elections:
In a letter to Iran’s Guardian Council, which investigates voting fraud allegations, Mousavi listed violations that he says are proof that the June 12 vote should be annulled. He said some ballot boxes had been sealed before voting began, thousands of his representatives had been expelled from polling stations and some mobile polling stations had ballot boxes filled with fake ballots.
“The Iranian nation will not believe this unjust and illegal” act, Mousavi said in the letter published on one of his official Web sites.
The Supreme Leader Ayatullah Khameini has ordered the crackdown. Accordin to Britain’s Times Online, Khameini declared that “‘those politicians who somehow have influence on people should be very careful about their behaviour if they act in an extremist manner . . . This extremism will reach a sensitive level which they will not be able to contain. They will be responsible for the blood, violence and chaos.”
As to Khameini’s assertions that the protestors are being motivated by the West, President Obama, in the face of mounting criticism, is still taking a cautious stance, which I believe has allowed the protestors more freedom than if our President had come out in full support of the opposition. According to White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs, the administration’s view is that Iranian leaders would use fiercer U.S. support for the protesters to paint them as puppets of the Americans.
In spite of this, Republicans led a Congressional Resolution that expresses support for “all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and rule of law” and affirms “the importance of democratic and fair elections.”
Certainly the U.S. embraces the values of freedom and human rights (sometimes), but coming out in open support of the Green Party will only escalate matters. Hawkish John McCain took the opportunity to slam President Obama on the Today Show and on Fox news, saying that the President isn’t doing enough and the U.S. should be more involved in the crisis. McCain must have a short memory.
The Congress is making statements that the U.S. should speak out because the protestors deserve their democratic rights. Iran is not a democracy. This is one important fact that those in favor of more harsh statements seem to be forgetting.
We must not forget how high tempers run in this country, and that Iran has never forgiven the U.S. for interfering in its politics by helping to establish the Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlavi as leader of the country during the Cold War. The repercussions for U.S. involvement in Iranian politics led to the 1979 Iranian overthrow of the Shah and the subsequent capture of 52 U.S. diplomats who were held for 444 days.
“Activism is my rent for living on this planet.” ~ Alice Walker
On a final note, Corey and I were discussing Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” which was written by Bob Dylan in the 60’s. We were talking about possible interpretations of the song, and I suppose since I have protests on the brain, I was telling Corey that I thought the song, as Hendrix sang it, was about alienation. Dylan may have written it as a folksong, but how many people actually listen to the Dylan version?
“Watchtower is a Hendrix song, and it speaks to me of the great disillusionment felt by that generation, an entire group of young people who felt let down by their country, let down by the system, misunderstood by their parents, and greatly alienated from white bread society.
I’ll leave you now with two versions of the song: Jimmi’s, of course, and a pretty cool version by composer and musician Bear McCreary (music for “Battlestar Galactica”).
More later. Peace be with you.