Most U.S. journalists (on the left and the right), seem a bit smug reporting civil unrest for an Iranian government currently having a rough time balancing democracy with authoritarian rule.(1) This glee in other’s unease largely manifests as chauvinism, either national or faith-based, or a combination of the two. Which explains my embarrassment reading most commentary of the past week as it pertains to the recent election in Iran. Too often a columnist vainly notes an absence of democratic principle in Iran, allowing for a rigged election — as a point of comparative pride, missing a larger truth in the situation.

Much worse, some Republicans — including my very own Senator, John “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain, appear convinced that American interests demand intervention in Iranian affairs at this time.(2) Whether imperial intent of U.S. origin would solve the present crisis in Iran and ease world tension, appears only of passing interest to a saber-rattling neo-con cruising for a fight — like J. Sidney McCain. Such paths offer little mileage for an American public already jaundiced by seven years of Mideastern war and struggling to understand the significance of internal Iranian turmoil.

At fault is neither Islamic faith per se, nor Persian culture. The trouble is religion, intrinsically. When leaders are directed by God, Allah or Zeus, there can be no democratic process. Iran is the clinical case in point. Theocracy never surrenders to the natural rights of its citizens — and it’s not just a middle-eastern phenomenon. Those in this country who wish to remake the United States as a Christian nation, should pause to observe the machinery of power in Iran. The secular founding of our great nation — conceived as an association of men, ruled from the ground up, rather than from the heavens down — has been the cornerstone of our successful exercise of democratic rule for more than 200 years.

Mainstream media would do us all a great service by focusing on reason among men as the rational justification for U.S. achievement as a free nation. We should all consider sympathy the proper emotion, and sorrow the correct expression, offered to the Iranian people as they struggle under the yoke of religious rule, while understandably rejecting the legitimacy of American intervention. Journalists should not miss this opportunity for a valuable civic lesson.

1 CNN – Iranian women stand up in defiance, flout rules
2 Washington Times – McCain believes Iran election was rigged

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