Cyrus meets Lincoln
Iranian-American runs for U.S. Senate
By S. Rob Sobhani
November 5, 1999
Twelve years ago on a crisp fall morning I entered the campaign offices
of Connie Morella to volunteer my services. Connie, as she was called by
everyone, was a Republican running for the U.S. Congress from heavily Democratic
Montgomery County, Maryland. The opponent was a wealthy businessman who
outspent us two-to-one. Well, she won and today I am proud to say that
Congresswoman Morella is one of the most popular representatives in Congress.
When she asked me to work with her I did not hesitate and joined Connie's
staff. Pretty soon I was handling veterans affairs, immigration matters
and drug control policy. During my tenure, I was able to facilitate the
entry of many Iranians into the United States. Bahai, Jewish, Muslim and
Armenian families from Iran were given a new lease on life and to this
date I am proud of the work we did.
Here I was, a descendant of Cyrus the Great in the land of Washington
and Lincoln, making a difference. This experience got me interested in
politics and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today I am campaigning to become the first U.S. Senator of Iranian descent
(I was born in Kansas) because I truly believe that we, the descendants
of Cyrus the Great, must join the children of Washington, Jefferson and
Lincoln, to make a more perfect union. A union in which we care of those
left behind, educate the uneducated, end prejudice and racism and protect
our natural beauties.
I enter this very difficult task with a full understanding of who I
am and what I wish to achieve. The great Persian poet Saadi defines best
who I am:
Bani Adam aaza-e yek digarand
Keh dar aafarinesh ze yek goharand
To kaz mehnat-e digaran bi ghami
nashaayad keh namat nahand aadami
(Humans are parts of one body
They have been created from a single jem
If you do not care for others
You do not deserve to be called human)
This is my heritage and this is who I am.
As a United States Senator what I hope to achieve for Americans of Iranians
descent is straighforward: end the demonizing and stereotyping of Iran
and Iranians. In fact, my first act as an elected official will be demand
a public apology from Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat from California)
the Iranian nation "terrorist" in her interview with CNN
Beyond this significant symbolic act, I hope to channel available federal
funds to non-profit organizations in the United States dedicated to the
preservation of our heritage. Also, and more to the point, I will work
very hard to end the discrimination against Iranians who wish to visit
the United States to see their relatives and loved-ones.
Running a campaign for the United States Senate is a very difficult
task but one that is well within our reach if we stand united and help
write history. So, please join me and let us make history not just be a
witness to it.
IF ALL AMERICANS OF IRANIAN DESCENT UNITED . . .
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