Ask your local immigrant


Tribune News Service

People gathered around a burning motorcycle in Iran’s capital city, Tehran, on Oct. 8, 2022.

Kamyar Enshayan, Guest Columnist

Many of the themes of extremism present in Iran are gaining traction in the US–why?

Editor’s Note: Kamyar Enshayan works at UNI and served on the Cedar Falls City Council (2003-2011). He can be reached at [email protected]

I was born in Iran and grew up there until I was 19.  I managed to leave Iran in 1978, just as the extreme religion-based regime took over.  For the past 44 years, we have seen their brutality towards the people of Iran, especially towards women, journalists, native peoples of Iran and anyone else who simply supports a more democratic process.  

The recent killings in Iran is just the normal daily functioning of what a dictatorship approach to governing looks like.  We immigrants who have escaped these situations to come to the U.S. have experienced these first hand, and know the tragedy of it.  And that’s why I am shocked and scared to see the ugliness of extremism and hate mongering emerging and gaining traction right here in the U.S.  It looks like we are allowing it, tolerating it and actually voting for those who say they will dismantle everything about our democracy!  

I am astonished to see that many elected officials (and some running for public office) continue to say that they will not accept election results unless they win, even when all courts have ruled that our votes are always properly counted, and that the last election was absolutely flawless.  Denying factual evidence has no place in a democracy.

We celebrate our WWII veterans as heroes who liberated Europe and the world from an authoritarian, racist, and hateful regime.  We say they gave their life so that we live in a free country!  And yet we are tolerating and actually voting for people who are promising to dismantle it all and promote hate towards others, totally dishonoring all who have served our country.  For those of us who have endured lawlessness and “no government,” this is a very scary development.  It is an aggressive cancer that must be treated immediately.  We are not that far behind Iran.

These are clear signs that we are falling for deception.   All things that we cherish about our nation are being devalued and diminished as evidenced by lying elected officials, treating women as second-class citizens, promoting hate towards others, polluting industries trashing this American land and the delusion that we are a Christian nation (meaning all others are inferior).   People in Iran wished their vote counted, in order to free themselves from the brutality of extremism.  

In the U.S. we have an amazing and accountable system of voting, but it seems like some people want more extremism and brutality! 

We know we have better American stories; we know hate should not prevail.  We are full of great ideas, we are loving and caring and we innovate to make our communities better.  The only antidote for the slippery slope of a weakening democracy is citizens (not Democrats vs. Republicans) who are on the ball, paying attention and fully weighing in.  This is an emergency.  Everything about our nation depends on us electing better people.