By Martin Love

Pence and the troubling prospect he is

February 12, 2018 - 20:36

I enjoy a number of news sources about Iran here in the US. This is the wonder of the Internet.

Some of these sources are Iranian dissidents in the West; Iranians who likely would not be welcome in Iran. I feel bad for them in this regard, but this in nothing new. I can’t think of any country that welcomes all its past and current citizens, whatever their current or past views. Some countries, like the US, have even assassinated American citizens overseas, even children, in drone strikes and other horrific actions. And like anyone with half a brain, it is at the least annoying when I read about, say, Iranians with dual citizenship, and some of them notable people, who have been imprisoned in Iran. The Western mainstream media makes a big deal of such action.  It’s always looking for a reason to vilify Iran, because Iran rejects Western/US imperialism. But Saudi Arabia, for example, chops off heads willy nilly, and the US calls it an “ally” and says nothing about the chops. Sickening.

Israel, another example, tries to eject entire classes of people or at the least puts them in virtual prisons under threat, such as African “Jewish” refugees. Israel jails its own Arab citizens, and of course many thousands of native Palestinians who have no rights at all, including hundreds of innocent children, and charges few of them with anything, and even if it does bring charges, most of them are baseless or absurd, and the punishment rarely fits any alleged “crime”.  I have not read of a single instance of Iran jailing children.

At any rate, it can be useful to look at countries that some may call socially or politically oppressive, and to compare them with countries that claim they are democracies that also allegedly abide by the rule of law internally and internationally. Personally, I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe that one’s religious convictions might better be a private matter, but that’s just my opinion. Theocracies, wherever and whenever they have been instituted, don’t often work out very well in the long run. This is a simple, historical fact.

Many Americans don’t look hard enough to discover the truth, so busy they are waving flags at football games and imagining that a “Support Our Troops” mantra is all that’s required to be a patriot.

What’s interesting about Iran is that while one can posit some “human rights” abuses, they are nowhere as bad as some in the US. No other country has incarcerated so many people, and many of them Blacks and other minorities, and the numbers may outstrip that of even the old USSR.  Many in US prisons, if you were to look really hard, are either “political” prisoners who as prisoners can no longer cast a vote, or just poor people who, unlike some well-known politicians, just don’t have the clout or money to buy their freedom from prosecution. Moreover, the rule of law nowadays is frequently violated by the “elite”, by politicians especially, and even by the two political parties. But also by US banks, Wall Street, corporations, etc. And the violations have increasingly been ignored by regulatory bodies and the courts. It’s all about power, or the maintenance of it, in the hands of the few. In the international arena the US is anything but law abiding, at least as far as longstanding international laws are concerned. Think Iraq, Libya, Syria and many other countries, including Iran as far back as Mossadegh’s overthrow by the CIA. The US currently is occupying oil rich parts of Syria, and recently murdered over 100 Syrian soldiers. These are war crimes, and meanwhile in recent decades US presidents have gone to war without, as demanded in the US Constitution, the formal assent of the US Congress. Such matters would be unbelievable were they not facts, even if many Americans don’t look hard enough to discover the truth, so busy they are waving flags at football games and imagining that a “Support Our Troops” mantra is all that’s required to be a patriot.

As far as theocracies go, history speaks of relatively benign and nefarious ones. And also the same regarding countries alleged to be “democratic”, like the US today. But what’s weird is that it may be the case that the US is a heartbeat away from becoming a theocracy (a Christian one) itself, if not in name, to some extent in fact.  Consider Vice President Mike Pence of Indiana.

Pence may be good reason to hope Trump serves out his term, and the potential next one, in the White House. Pence is, in the words of a journalist friend, “both a Christian fundamentalist and a dispensationalist, which means that he thinks every word in the Good Book (Bible) is literally true and that Christianity is going through phases or dispensations that will lead to the rapture of true believers into heaven followed by the wrath of God descending on those who refuse to see the light.” You can’t make up this garbage! Trump, incidentally, is no real Christian and never was at least if you gauge that by his deeds, but Pence maybe is, if you fall in line with an estimated 20 percent of the US electorate, the evangelicals and their embarrassing kin. Trump did indeed choose Pence as his VP running mate in 2016 because he knew such a ticket would easily capture this big chunk of voters, whether they deemed themselves Republicans or Democrats.

Pence in any event is smooth, a better talker than Trump, and absolutely convinced of the rectitude of his ideas. He is even such a “Christian” as to forbid himself to dine alone with any woman who is not his wife, so as to avoid even the possible temptation of a sexual liaison outside his marriage. Does this make him a “good” man. No. It makes him a blind man.

Take the matter of Pence and the Zionist state, Israel. To him, Israel’s creation and survival are part of some (un) godly master plan that will lead to the end of the world. He’s so blind he cannot see that the “end” of the world is not at all a good plan for anyone on earth, including his loved ones, and especially not for Jews, who won’t, by the terms of the plan, ever get to heaven, dead or alive. His views on the Middle East were strikingly obvious when he visited Israel not long ago. He even damned Iran in a speech before the Knesset, after Arab Knesset members were evicted. He claimed to “stand” with Israel absolutely, seemingly unaware that most Americans have never been anything but ambivalent about Israel and don’t themselves “stand” with the Zionists. So as misguided as many think Trump is, particularly about the Mideast, one would have to say that a person like Pence, who as President could potentially affect many aspects of billions of lives across the globe, is downright crazy. On that note I fervently hope, in the absence of another VP, that Trump remains in office. Pence would, it seems, manage the US like some kind of frightful and odious theocracy. Being forewarned may be a step to being forearmed.


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