The latest protests in Iran by people angry over the Iranian military's missile launch that "unintentionally" downed a Ukrainian jetliner killing many Iranians, Canadians and others, is different from past protests over rigged elections, rising gas prices, and what Americans like to call "voter suppression."
This time, the protests are over a much wider area of the country. This time, there were no "death to America" or "death to Israel" chants. Video showed demonstrators refusing to walk on U.S. and Israeli flags. This time, anger was directed at the theocratic regime's handling of the missile strike. This time, a president of the United States tweeted his support for the protesters in English and in Farsi and warned "the world is watching." That's something President Obama failed to do when demonstrations over a rigged election broke out in the summer of 2009 and the regime began killing and imprisoning protesters.
Obama, opting at first for a wait-and-see approach, once violence reached its zenith, was finally forced to declare, "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days," and strongly condemned "these unjust actions." Of course, his statement was too late to have much, if any, effect on the regime's actions.
Democrats were nearly silent about the latest protests. Democrats once boldly voiced opposition to totalitarian regimes. When Democrats do comment it is often without substance or meaning.
Interviewed on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to minimize the significance of the demonstrations. Host George Stephanopoulos asked her if she supported the demonstrations and whether it would be good for the regime to collapse. She replied: "The protesters are protesting -- as I understand it, this brand of protesters -- about the fact that that plane went down. And many students were on that plane and these are largely students in the street."
The lunatic left, which increasingly dominates the Democratic Party, predictably took Iran's side against their own country. Actress Rose McGowan tweeted: "Dear #Iran. The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52 percent of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani."
A.J. Caschetta responded to McGowan and many others on the far left in National Review magazine: "While it may be tempting to dismiss McGowan's attempts at wit, her line of reasoning, however faulty, is echoed by nearly all the Democrats on the campaign trail and by virtually every Middle East specialist in the media and in academia. Her apologetic plea for peace and her moral equivalency between Trump's "terrorist regime" and "#Soleimani" differ from tweets of her erudite allies only in the number of polysyllabic words and historical references. Otherwise they are quite similar, in some cases practically identical."
Why aren't the Democratic presidential candidates asked if they share such views? Perhaps it is because those asking the questions don't want to do anything that would harm the chances of one of the Democrat presidential candidates beating President Trump in the November election. Does that sound too harsh? Consider that 92 percent of media coverage of the president has been negative, according to a study by the Media Research Center, a politically conservative content analysis group based in Reston, Virginia.
Could the protests in Iran follow the pattern of other freedom movements, like Solidarity in Poland, or demonstrations that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union? Or, could they end in a stalemate with increasingly brutal repression, as in Venezuela?
It's too early to say, but the least that should be expected is that people who enjoy the blessings of liberty, including the right to say very foolish things, support the efforts of others who want to free themselves from totalitarian oppression. If they won't, perhaps they should pick what they think is a better country and live there.
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Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.