Columbia University, by inviting Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to
speak, has shown confidence in the wisdom and adultness of their students
and our republic.
Ahmadinejad is the president of a major nation in a vital part of the world,
and we should have enough self-assurance and belief in our own system of
government, and in the intelligence of our college students, that we can let
them (and our larger public) evaluate his words, whatever they may be.
To be terrified of his speaking there (or, for that matter, laying a wreath
at Ground Zero) is behavior one would have expected from a fragile régime
like Khrushchev's USSR or Burma's military junta, not the bold, brave, and
We are the nation whose President Nixon reached out to and met with China's
Mao Tse Tsung at the same time Mao was funding and arming the North
Vietnamese to kill our soldiers in Vietnam. We're the nation whose
President Reagan confronted Soviet President Gorbachev, who at the time had
thousands of nuclear warheads armed and pointed at us and was actively
funding and arming proxy wars we were fighting in more than a half-dozen
nations. We're the nation whose President Roosevelt said, "We have nothing
to fear but fear itself."
And let's also remember that the people of Tehran, Iran, produced one of the
largest candlelight vigil demonstrations in the Muslim world in support of
the USA the day after 9/11, repudiating the act and actors of that event.
We still have the ability to make an ally of that nation, and shouldn't blow
it by fear and bluster (or bombs). America is better and stronger than the
nervous Nellies and chickenhawk war-mongers who currently have control of
the Republican Party (and a few Democrats, apparently).
As JFK said: "We are not afraid to entrust the American people with
unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.
For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood
in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
We are not afraid. We are Americans!