First and foremost my heart goes out to the people of Iran. The tumult they find themselves in is surely frightening, dangerous and ultimately pivotal in how they may lead their lives over the next decades. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Secondly, these events throw numerous others on US shores into sharp contrast. From the Tea Party protests to the anger at AIG and similar institutions responsible for our economic collapse, a new light is clearly shed on their meaning and relevance.
For those of us who bother to keep tabs on the balance between Republicans and Democrats, the Tea Party protests represented a weak, pitiful attempt on the part of the former group to assert they had grass roots support and legitimacy on a level equal to or greater than Obama. The narrative they attempted to convey was that there was growing, angry opposition to Obama's socialist policies that would boil over into a political revolution.
Today we can see what a political revolution looks like, and it is impossible to do so without observing how little resemblence there is to the Tea Party protests. Revolution is infectuous, massive, and immediately garners forceful responses from those who oppose it. There is blood, violence, hope, despair, and most of all chaos. The entire country of Iran worries as to the outcome of these protests, no matter what their affiliation or beliefs.
Looking back as newcasters proclaimed the Tea Party protests a revolution, it seems at best a joke. One can declare a top a carousel because it spins and all that is proven is one's ignorance.
But that ignorance is important because it isn't limited to Fox News, conservatives or Republicans. The American people, as a whole, have forgotten what revolution is after nearly 250 years of independance. We have been so tamed by our freedoms that the idea of simply protesting something seems revolutionary. Consider the following quote:
"You know, you look at other countries, when they get upset they actually go on strike, they have riots. We just kind of send off e-mails in capital letters."
Jon Stewart touches on an oddity of American politics. For all the vitriol thrown about between parties and sides, however much ire one can draw from friends and coworkers over differing political views, few people put even a modicum of effort into expressing that intense emotion in a concrete fashion.
The massive economic collapse would, one thinks, have easily produced similar, massive demonstrations against the corrupt, disconnected executives who spearheaded our current situation. While we elected a very different president than our previous one, the uprising hasn't happened. Are we naturally more peaceful or naturally more apathetic? I have no special insight here.
Regardless, the American Revolution has long since ended, its memory faded despite frequent invocations. Revolution is not inherently good; the barriers and structures it destroys are not always deserving or necessary. However, it is a truly American quality to cherish and desire revolutionary spirit. One wonders where it has gone.