We need new people, not new governments. New state, not new head of state. New values, not just a new constitution. We need individual morality, not institutionalized religion. Tolerance, not plain secularism. We need piercing eyes, discriminating ears, cautious lips and a stronger intellect – not new slogans.
Our worst enemy has always come from within – the tyrannical ruler; the self-seeking traitor; the dogmatic religious extremist. And it has been helped by the general illiteracy, complacency, and ignorance of an impoverished populace, on the one hand; and the self-centered “eat or be eaten” mentality of the tyrant's entourage and supporting cast, on the other.
O ignorance, mighty god of destitute, woe is I! Though illiteracy has been steadily diminishing in our country in the past century, ignorance and apathy are holding steady, if not on the rise. We hold to our wearied old tendencies as embattled soldiers to the trenches. Afraid to raise our head above the embankment of our soiled thoughts to glance at our environs.
Could it be there are better trenches to hide in? Could it be the horizon holds not guns and canons, but the golden glow of the setting sun? Could it be the war's over – and the enemy's within? The battle of the self has only just begun.
It was said long ago, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” In the game of politics, and ultimately, a nation's survival, it is not morality that dictates, but ethics, and social ethics, to be sure, plays an important role. So in the new political arena, with the monarchists and the republicans, the right and the left, the nationalist and the freedom fighters, ask not who is without sin, but ask who can preserve and protect the highest ethical values.
Certainly the answer must be: the people.
For we all know that rulers are only as strong as their weakest tendencies, that power corrupts even the incorruptible, and that good intentions often lay waste to personal prejudice and greed.
Therefore, choose People.
For the most part, our country has been governed by rulers bred and raised within our borders, within our society and within our ancient heritage. Do we not ask ourselves then: Why the inferior state of our country throughout the past centuries? Why the oppressed and illiterate populace? Why the mistress to outside influence and the puppet to foreign powers? Why the glory that once thrived, in humanity and culture, in science and literature, is no more?
Do we not question the very soil that bred and nurtured these tyrants? the very households that raised them? the very ethics that surrounded them? Do we not question the very blood that flows in our common veins?
We don't need new rulers, new governments, new constitutions, new dogmas. First and foremost, we need new people. And then, perhaps, we may look forward to a day when we, like many Americans, can take pride in the words: “We the People of Iran, in Order to form a more perfect Nation under one culture, establish Justice and secure the Blessings of Liberty… ”
Only then will the words mean something.
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