(Available on Examiner.com under Los Angeles/Middle East)
America stands for liberty.
While our founding was contaminated by one of the world’s single greatest crimes against all of humanity–slavery–America was founded on the notion that each individual was endowed by God with the right to live freely. This experiment of ours, however imperfect, has provided inspiration to whole nations. We should be proud of ourselves, and we should live up to our name.
America must call, not soon, but immediately, for the departure of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. If it does not, it will diminish what our founders worked so painstakingly and assiduously to create.
For months now, we have watched our government acknowledge only occasionally and lethargically the indiscriminate violence being perpetrated by Syria’s purported “leader,” Bashar al-Assad. As is the case with the Middle East in general, his government was not elected democratically, nor has it been responsive in any way to the demands of its frustrated citizenry.
The people’s demands are simple and worthy of our recognition and active support. Syrians deserve the right to worship their differing Gods freely. They deserve the right to vote in and out of office regularly those politicians they deem satisfactory and unsatisfactory. They deserve the right to speak as they wish, free of government retribution. These are rights we Americans take, rather pathetically, for granted. They are the rights that allow us to thrive. They are the same rights whose absence have caused Syria to stagnate and degenerate into chaos.
There is no reason why Arabs shouldn’t have access to democracy and capitalism. They are no less deserving than their Western counterparts. When we Americans see innocents being shot and massacred–by the thousands, no less–we should respond swiftly and vigorously. To stand by as the blood our Syrian brothers and sisters flows through the streets of Damascus and Hama is a disgrace. It is incumbent upon President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to call jointly and forcefully for al-Assad’s departure. It is incumbent upon them also to work tirelessly until this outcome is achieved and he meets the same fate as his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak.
Syria needs America to live up to its ideals. Bashar al-Assad must go now. America must, either independently or with the help of its true allies, pressure and weaken him until he does.