January 13, 2020 - Monday
A Protest of Wills
January 13, 2020
If Donald Trump is the problem in Iran, liberal Democrats are the only ones who think so. After days of trying to extract a pound of flesh from the president for killing a terrorist mastermind, the far-Left is surprisingly quiet now that the Iranian people are mobbing the streets shouting "Death!" to something other than America. Turns out, the country's crusade for freedom isn't nearly as useful to their 2020 hopes as painting Trump as a universally-hated warmonger -- something these weekend demonstrations go a long way to disproving.
They poured out to the streets by the hundreds -- all of them risking execution just for the opportunity to speak out. Oppressed and lied to for decades, angry Iranians snapped after the attack and cover-up of the downed commercial airliner. After days of insisting it didn't shoot down the Ukrainian plane that plunged into the ground near Tehran, killing 176 people, Iran officials finally admitted Saturday that its military was responsible for the accident -- prompting a fury of outrage inside -- and outside -- Tehran. Leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps apologized for mistakenly targeting Flight 752, but it was too late. The country had already erupted.
While Iranians dodged bullets and tear gas to challenge the regime, six thousand miles away, Democrats were dodging something else: public comment. Their silence was a start contrast to the president, who posted a series of messages in Farsi standing in solidarity with the protestors in Tehran. "To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely and are inspired by your courage... To the leaders of Iran -- DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching."
For the far-Left, the images of protestors were another significant political blow. As Michael Goodwin announced in the New York Post, all of this proves, once again, "The chicken littles got everything wrong on Trump and Iran." In a matter of hours, the entire script had flipped, he exclaims, shredding "the claim that the Obama nuke deal was effective and confirm[ing] the wisdom of Trump's decision to eliminate Soleimani. Contrasts between competing policies don't get any sharper," he writes. "Nor does the clarity of the result." This, he insists was a "disaster for the Dem 2020 candidates. Their knee-jerk criticism of the Soleimani strike and embrace of Obama's appeasement of Iran is another mark against them."
As usual, the Democratic party is so focused on beating Trump that they're missing the big picture of freedom for the Iranian people. While the citizens of Tehran put everything on the line to expose their leaders and get the world's attention, America's liberals -- like Obama before them -- have turned their backs. Journalist Yashar Ali, of Iranian decent, lashed out at the hypocrisy and opportunism in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) ranks, wondering -- in a series of viral tweets -- where all the Democrats, who had such "deep concern" for the future of Iran, had gone.
"Iranians are being used by certain people on the Left (I didn't say all) as a tool to attack President Trump. But these same people don't seem to care to... support their right to protest?" Ali asked. "It seems to me, the protests were inconvenient for some of these [Democrats] today. They were placing the blame on the Iranian leadership -- who lied repeatedly about what happened... So it wasn't worth it to bring attention to [the protestors] or support them?... These aren't serious individuals... They aren't interested in providing any semblance of moral clarity. They're just obsessed with Trump."
For Pelosi, who continued to insist on the Sunday talk shows that Trump escalated the situation unnecessarily, the optics of her party's blackout are devastating. On one hand, the world is watching video of Iranians refusing to step on the American and Israeli flags -- the ultimate defiance -- and on the other, scores of American extremists, sitting on their hands during a democratic movement that could reshape the entire landscape of the Middle East. Where is the so-called "party of women" when the most decorated Iranian female athlete defects to the Netherlands, decrying the "oppression" of women in Iran? What happened to the siren calls for resistance?
Like the people in Tehran, who shout, "They are lying that our enemy is America!" Democrats are lying that our enemy is Trump. The president is the picture of peace through strength. And everyone in the world seems to understand the importance of that -- except them.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.