Friday, January 20, 2012

#IranTuesday: Obama's Moment of Truth?

Next Tuesday, January 24, President Obama will give the State of the Union Address.

On Tuesdays, many of us in the antiwar community attend to resistance to the war in Afghanistan. This week, however, I propose that we substitute #IranTuesday for #AfghanistanTuesday. February 4 is a National Day of Action to prevent U.S. war against Iran; we have arrived at a moment of truth.

What can we expect on #IranTuesday?

One possibility is that the President will indicate that he has come to his senses, and that he will eschew saber-rattling against Iran in lieu of a course of seeking peace. This is the course that his Republican opponents fear the most, because it gives Obama the opportunity to appear "presidential," to take the high road, to place some real distance between himself and everyone else in this election year.

Such a course would come as a welcome relief the many, many people who previously voted for Obama but have now lost faith in him. A sensible pronouncement by Obama is their last hope for a saving grace that will allow them to support him again. (Of course, some people have figured out that Obama is a lost cause.)

Unfortunately, a far more likely possibility (in my opinion) is that Obama will issue stern talk about Iran. The silver lining in that possibility is that it would offer the Republicans a chance to upstage Obama by talking sense in their "response." Just imagine: Republicans could paint the young president as reckless, the kind of person who should be gently but firmly ushered out of his position of power. The Republicans could achieve a kind of political miracle by appearing more presidential than a sitting president, simply by showing forbearance. (And I'm not even talking about something that might actually rise to the level of responsible governance, like hearings into the assassinations in Iran!)

The irony is that, although there is one Republican who is prepared to use a peace platform to go on the offensive, the official Republican respondents could never, ever be expected to retreat from a position of absolute belligerence.

So just what good can come out of #IranTuesday? Just this: it will serve as proof, for anyone who still needs it, that the mainstream U.S. parties constitute a distinction without a difference, and offer no kind of choice for people who want to change the future direction of the country.

Election 2012 is a joke. The answer lies in the streets. Spread the word.