NAHAL ZAMANI WRITES:
Last year, I wrote a piece for Senator McCain in response to his now famous, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" comment. McCain responded to criticism of his song-and-dance routine by rolling his eyes, and asking folks to "Lighten up and get a life."
Again, Mr. McCain, I say, we cannot afford to lighten up.
This is a pivotal moment in history, a critical moment where Americans can choose to step forward, or to drown in a pool of blind nostalgia for what we were. We cannot joke with our cronies, jabbing them with pointy elbows and buttering them with snarky racist sneers in lowered voices and furtive glances about. That is the America we were; xenophobic, blind, proud of a concept we called brilliant after having defined it ourselves. That was the America, who decided to go into Iran, with eyes full of idealist imperialism in 1953, disregarding the world's and Iran's history - handing Iran a lesson plan to sit down with while knifing it in the back. That was the America that would establish a model for coup d'etats all over the world, of squelching indigenous dissidents and of hosing down souls who dreamed of equality.
Here we are now, in 2008, and we have come far from lightening up. We are peeling ourselves off from the ground to realize we have drunk ourselves into a bloated stupor while the party ended, the record stopped spinning, and everyone left the party. Our eyes are red, the body aches, and the money has disappeared from our wallet. The taste in our mouth is bitter, and although we reach for the familiarity of that something sweet, it has gone sour with the times.
I don't need to outline the problems in our country, they have become frighteningly unavoidable and bitterly clear. This is not a time for song and dance routines. This is not time to stand up and wave a "maverick" stick so fervently that one forgets why one stood up to begin with. This is not a time to blow up with rage, fear and racism instead of listening, waiting and discussing. The time is for someone who will roll up their sleeves and get down to work, to make the economy, global security and peoples' lives healthy and whole again.
As I said in April 2007, "Lighten up Mr. McCain? We simply cannot."
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