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Can Iranians be Democrats or not?

By Payam Ean

A reader's response to: Iranians can not be Democrats published on Oct 20, 2004.

Dear Mr. Zindini:

After reading your recent political article on Payvand's website, I felt compelled to respond to you and to Payvand. By claiming in your article that "Democrats [offer] no value to a IAP [Iranian-American Patriot]", you not only provide misguided and uninformed information about the platform of the Democratic Party, but you also provide a great political disservice to our people who read Payvand.

You make assertions about the Democratic Party that are not backed by any viable examples or plausible reasoning, let alone tangible evidence. You tritely rely upon stereotyped conjecture in positing that "the Democratic Party is a party that takes disenfranchised citizens and makes them even more disenfranchised and in the process uses these followers to their own benefits [sic]". Apparently, you missed out on the eight years of fiscal and economic prosperity that resulted from the Clinton Presidency (hint: Clinton was a Democrat). More rudimentarily, you apparently do not grasp the necessary value of retaining a viable, functioning welfare state.

Further, you wantonly state that the Democratic Party consists essentially of a "small number or wealthy people with a vast hidden agenda-for their own financial gains to political influence for special interest groups-which share no American value with the people of our country." This description is essentially what has traditionally been used to describe the Republican Party, and certainly fits the description of said party under George W. Bush. A rudimentary review of the influences of special interest groups on the clandestine inner machinations of the Republican Party will make the latter assertion as lucid as the noon-hour sun.

You make a wild, opaque claim that Democrats "could be considered downright traitors. Take any Democratic Senator, as an example check out California's Senators and closely examine their political agenda, their support for foreign governments, and their financial gains-it sure is un-American." What on earth are you writing about, and what audience are you ultimately writing to? Exactly what foreign governments are you implying, and what "traitorous" actions are you referencing?

Separately, you state that "we need to stay focused on adopting a political party based on the understandings of the social values of our adopted homeland." Question: Why adopt just "a" political party? Why not both? Or more than two? How else are "IAPs" supposed to achieve political maturity and savvy, if not by FULLY involving ourselves in the democratic process in the West? Jewish citizens are involved in both mainstream political parties in the U.S., while retaining a cultural sense of fidelity towards their own unique history, religion, language, culture and Israel. Why should it be any different for Persians? Since all "IAPs" should be Republicans in your mind, how do you expect us to progress as a people domestically as well as for the benefit of our cultural homeland? I sense that your position urges little more than political immaturity and co-dependency, which is what we had more than enough of back in Iran! under the Shah as well as under the mullahs.

On that latter note, you reference our Iranian Heritage in arguing for replete enrollment of our constituency in the Republican Party in the US. You state:

It is obvious that throughout the centuries all the dynasties that ruled Iran always promoted social values that are nothing like the Democratic Party's platform-Of course, with the exception of the last regime, Pahlavi's, which was one the [sic] most corrupt and self-serving dynasties in history of Iran-which had no hesitation to sell out to special groups in the States just to gain brownie points with pseudo liberals for favors that would only harm Iran in long term [sic].

The last Pahlavi Shah was closer to Republican presidents than he was to Democratic ones. He was practically a slave to the GOP throughout the Nixon and Ford administrations with regard to the misplaced-placed usage of oil revenue for the build-up of armaments, which came at the cost of implementing critical domestic social programs -- necessary programs that are generally favored by Democrats in this country, and programs that ultimately cost the Shah his throne. Separately, the first sentence of the above quote draws an inaccurate comparison anyway because 1) neither Iran nor Persia allowed for electoral politics, and 2) many Republicans in the US are libertarian by nature - certainly not an innately Iranian trait if we judge by Iran's respective Saltanatee or Jhombooree Eslamee histories.

In stating that Iranians shouldn't consider the Democratic Party or its candidates, you state that our people never looked for "hand outs" and weren't "Gedas" [translation: beggars], implying that said party caters to this obscure grouping. By making such a statement and discussing governmental social programs in the US, you show an immoderate amount of ignorance regarding the core nature of Progressive politics, let alone the necessity of retaining a viable welfare apparatus for society's disadvantaged in ANY nation (which number more than the "invalids" whom you solely qualify). Did the US sustain its highest economic growth rate in history under Bill Clinton's two terms in office due to policies involving dishing out copious amounts of "hand-outs"?!? Try and make said "hand-out" argument to some of the 40 million Americans without any health insurance, or to the millions of elderly who will not have Social Security or viable Medicare benefits to loo! k forward to in their retirement.

It is disturbing that you do not acknowledge the make-up of modern Democrats in America. Apparently, those who voted Bill Clinton into office twice, both times by landslide victories over GOP opponents, and those who collectively sustain the perpetual incumbencies of the Senators from populous states such as California, New York, Massachusetts and Florida do not seem to be too disenfranchised. Also, current prominent supporters of John Kerry such as billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Apple founder Steve Jobs, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and a feast of others hardly seem like they need "hand-outs" from the US government for their subsistence, let alone support empty "hand-outs" for the citizenry (said term is an insult not only to America but also to the less fortunate in society as well as to Payvand's readership). Lastly, the Democratic Party is increasingly absorbing frustrated American Conservatives who are increasingly fed up with the Republican Party due to its disturbing lack of fiscal conservatism and moderate restraint on domestic and foreign policies. This is not our fathers' Republican Party, and it is critical that the Iranian-American community understand that fact.

In your concluding paragraph, you again reference a "foreign entity" that the Democratic Party supports. What is this foreign entity caveat about? Is not Halliburton, which is doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran through its offshore corporate subsidiaries, primarily a Republican backing corporation (hint: Halliburton's former CEO is now our Vice-President, and secures pre-determined contractual favors on said firm's behalf in the current war-torn Iraq)? Kindly do your homework before throwing such half-baked conspiracy theories around in print, and please stop channeling intellectual hacks such as Kenneth Timmerman, Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen. Trust me, they do NOT retain the best interests of Iranian-Americans at heart, let alone those of most Americans.

Critically, aside from serving a half-witted polemic, you failed ultimately in viably explicating HOW the current Republican Party represents "IAP" values, relying solely on your misinformed, innuendo-ridden assumptions. This is embarrassing coming from a compatriot who wishes to service our constituency's core political goals in America, and puts our community in a dim light in domestic political discourse. Your arguments, prose and rhetoric extend the tragic legacy of Iranian political do-dependence and impotence that has traditionally driven our people, whether back in Iran or in the West, to remain backwards and fear-ridden while other groups jog right by us en route to political maturity in Washington and in their local communities.

Lastly, and with all due respect, it is quite disconcerting, and telling of the state of Iranian political involvement in America, to have to bear poorly argued, bad grammar-ridden, and wildly uninformed assertions such as yours in an otherwise sober cultural forum such as Payvand.

About the author:
Payam Ean is a policy, media and business strategist and consultant living in Southern California.

... Payvand News - 10/27/04 ... --

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