Saturday, June 20, 2009

Solidarity with Iranians
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...whenever any form of government becomes is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government...
Those words, written 233 years ago by Thomas Jefferson, and signed by he and 55 of his fellow members of the second Continental Congress in 1776, branded each a traitor to England and made them targets for the gallows. Yet, small in number, but large in purpose, they mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Because their courage prevailed, a new nation was born, blessed with freedoms never before enjoyed by a people anywhere, at that time in history.
Now we are witnesses to another peoples struggle to abolish a tyrannical government, and institute a new government. That struggle is being played out on the streets of Iranian cities. It is marked by the resolution and courage of those who have taken to the streets. It is being met with clubs, water cannon and guns.
As free Americans, we can only watch and cringe at the violence unleashed against the protesters; much as we watched Soviet tanks roll into Hungary to brutally crush an uprising that lasted only a few days in the fall of 1956; and Chinese tanks roll into Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989, killing hundreds of student protesters.
We cannot battle in the streets of Tehran with the Iranians. They must win their own right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We do mourn the victims of the violence plundering their ranks.
Just as American colonists pledged their solidarity with the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, let us pledge our solidarity with Iranian protesters by placing placards in our windows, or on our front doors, or on our lawns, declaring that solidarity. Let those who are seeking to overthrow tyranny know visually we are with them. And may God bless their efforts by freeing them from the yoke of despotism.
On July 4, when we honor the signing of the Declaration of Independence, as we display our cherished flag, let us take a moment to reflect on the brave young Iranian men and women struggling to determine their own future.
It is also a day to reflect on our own forebearers and their struggle for the freedoms we celebrate, hard won on the bloody battlefields of the Revolutionary War more than two centuries ago.

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