Half-way across the globe on June 12, the volatile and enigmatic theocratic nation of Iran held elections in which the Iranian government counted 32 million hand-written paper ballots in about three hours and declared the incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad victorious.
President Ahmadinejad’s chief opponent in the contest, former prime minister – an artist, a painter – Mir-Hossein Moussavi, cried foul and his supporters, by the tens of thousands, took to the street of Tehran under the color green.
For those who have become jaded about the politics of tyrannical repressive regimes and one-party nation-states, who knew – or even cared – that Iran was having a presidential election? Much less doubted the outcome?
The whole thing reminded one of an election in North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, or Maryland, for that matter.
Meanwhile, too many Americans were worried about where the American President Barack Obama was going to go for burgers next?
Of course, as a momentary soliloquy off to the left side of the stage, the president of the world’s second largest one-party nation-state, the United States, was being serenaded and roundly celebrated for killing a housefly on June 18.
The state-run media circulated pictures of the hapless dead fly and sang the praises of the president’s decisiveness and purpose-driven dispatch of the fly-that-dared-to-bother the president.
Ay, caramba. How allegorical. Oh, the irony.
However, here’s a wake-up call. The protests in Iran are real, and, if one does not think so, the official death toll of 17, or the unofficial death toll of 150, should jolt one to reality.
Certainly the videotaped graphic death of a young woman named Neda Soltan last Saturday should put an indelible image upon it all.
At first, most did not realize that the terrible event happened as they were preoccupied Saturday with images on our state-run television of President Obama having a vanilla frozen custard in a cup with hot fudge and toasted almonds.
Sort of puts a new face on “let them eat cake,” now doesn’t it? After all, President Obama is certainly as attractive as Marie Antoinette.
All right, to be fair, not everyone was following the president’s every movement; others were distracted as to what was going to happen to the marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin, the stars of the “Jon & Kate Plus Eight,” which incongruously airs on “The Learning Channel.”
Meanwhile, it is not just the left in American that is not lacking for “irony deficient” Kodak-moments.
Last Saturday, Pat Buchanan was featured at The American’s Cause’s “Building A New Majority Conference” in McLean, VA, expounding on the merits of “English-only” initiatives – under a misspelled banner that read: “2009 National Conferenece.”
How perfect! Oh, the irony.
During the 2008 presidential election, supporters of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama cautioned our country that we did not want a “third term” for President George W. Bush.
However, almost 50 percent of the country said that they would rather have “Bush’s third term,” than (President Jimmy) “Carter’s second.”
Perhaps much of the entire country has taken leave of its senses and is celebrating “Carter’s second term” in office.
For those who are close observers of the president, one could easily conclude that the rigid repressive regime in Iran is not the enemy as the president has devoted more of his time on the Fox News Channel than he has supporting the brave election protestors in Iran.
Now, just think about that for a moment…
Even Clintonista George Stephanopoulos, the host of the Democrat Party’s Sunday religious services program, ABC’s “This Week,” marveled, in an unguarded moment, at “how obsessed the president and the White House are with Fox News.”
According to published accounts, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, however, cautioned “don't confuse attention with love” as he maintained of Obama's coverage: “I don't think...it's been unskeptical or uncritical.” Indeed, Mr. Keller insisted: “He's getting examined pretty microscopically.”
Huh? Oh, we feel the love all right.
The Media Research Center reported that during the same program, “Sam Donaldson cracked up the panel with a back-handed slap at the White House press corps.
“Asked how they are doing, Donaldson proposed before being drowned out by guffaws led by Stephanopoulos: ‘I think it's doing okay. I mean, they're going to come to life as the public gets more skeptical…’ ”
Well, if the images of the “hope and change” president’s muted response to the Iranian election protestors, portrayed alongside the graphic video of a 26 year-old philosophy student named Neda Soltan as she lay in the street dying after allegedly being shot in the heart at a peaceful election protest, does not make one skeptical – nothing will.
Ms. Soltan died wanting what we take for granted: democracy, freedom of speech, assembly, and to participate in fair elections in the pursuit of choosing her country’s elected leadership, while the vast majority of Americans were eating cake to fight-off irony deficiency.
By the time you read this, the president will have conducted a press conference, in which many are hoping he will address support for the Iranian election protestors with the confidence and assertiveness commensurate with his position as the leader of the free world.
Hopefully, he found his eloquent voice and expressed the convictions of someone who actually believes in “hope and change.”
However, odds are he once again apologized for America’s interference in Iran’s affairs in the past. Perhaps he will blame his lack of voice on President Bush?
And then, he will renew his invitation for the Iranian diplomats to attend July 4th celebrations, break bread together, and have a couple of hot dogs – while Iranians die in the streets for democracy and freedom.
The president is attractive. He has an historic gift for oratory. He’s thin, but he is certainly never irony deficient.
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.