Thursday, 25 June 2009

Obama Condemns Crackdown on Iranian Protestors

I have nothing to add to the President's statement except my own respect and awe for the men and women who are still on the streets of Iran demanding democracy despite the blood on the streets. We're not worthy. No joke.

Please don't forget to join us tonight to hear legendary blogger and Middle East expert Juan Cole give his thoughts on the crisis, and more.
' First, I'd like to say a few words about the situation in Iran. The
United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by
the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly
condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning
each and every innocent life that is lost. I've made it clear that the United
States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is not
interfering with Iran's affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage
and the dignity of the Iranian people and to a remarkable opening within Iranian
society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it
takes place. The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future.
Some in Iran -- some in the Iranian government, in particular, are trying to
avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others in the West of
instigating protests over the elections. These accusations are patently false.
They're an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place
within Iran's borders. This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat
other countries won't work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States
or the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they -- and
only they -- will choose. The Iranian people can speak for themselves. That's
precisely what's happened in the last few days. In 2009, no iron fist is strong
enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of
justice. Despite the Iranian government's efforts to expel journalists and
isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us
through cell phones and computers. And so we've watched what the Iranian people
are doing. This is what we've witnessed. We've seen the timeless dignity of tens
of thousands of Iranians marching in silence. We've seen people of all ages risk
everything to insist that their votes are counted and that their voices are
heard. Above all, we've seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and
threats, and we've experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on
the streets.While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know
this: those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history. As
I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The
Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech. If the
Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must
respect those rights and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through
consent and not coercion. That's what Iran's own people are calling for, and the
Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government."

Monday, 22 June 2009

Christ Dodd Comes Out - For Gay Marriage

When I wrote my post the other day saying that we have to keep pressing our leaders on gay rights isssues, this is the kind of thing I was hoping for - a statement issued today by Senator Chris Dodd:

I believe that effective leaders must be able and willing to grow and change over their service. I certainly have during mine – and so has the world. Thirty-five years ago, who could have imagined that we’d have an African-American President of the United States?

My young daughters are growing up in a different reality than I did. Our family knows many same-sex couples – our neighbors in Connecticut, members of my staff, parents of their schoolmates. Some are now married because the Connecticut Supreme Court and our state legislature have made same-sex marriage legal in our state.

But to my daughters, these couples are married simply because they love each other and want to build a life together. That’s what we’ve taught them. The things that make those families different from their own pale in comparison to the commitments that bind those couples together.

And, really, that’s what marriage should be. It’s about rights and responsibilities and, most of all, love.

I believe that, when my daughters grow up, barriers to marriage equality for same-sex couples will seem as archaic, and as unfair, as the laws we once had against inter-racial marriage.

And I want them to know that, even if he was a little late, their dad came down on the right side of history.
Good for him. It's always hard to admit that you have changed your mind, with the implicit suggestion that you were wrong before. There are good men and women - Democrats AND Republicans, who may be open to having thier minds changed on this issue, if we politely keep telling them the truth as we see it.

By the way - Senator Dodd is facing a tough re-election fight next year. Now might be a good time to send him some money to help keep his voice in the Senate. Hint, hint.

Dad In Chief

Last Friday, first Dad Barack hosted an event in celebration of Fathers Day and talked a little bit about the importance of fatherhood - something that sadly he himself learned about by its absence more than anything. For a man whose own father left him when he was 2 years old, it's good to see how much Barack seems to really love being a dad to Sasha and Malia.

And a belated happy Fathers' Day to all the dad's out there. Including mine (hi Dad!).