The View from Kepler-452b
A nuclear deal silent on LGBT issues is still good.
High in the night sky over Washington, the bright stars Deneb and Vega mark a star field at the center of a probe unrelated to Benghazi or Hillary’s emails or whether Iran will get the Bomb.
NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has discovered Kepler-452b, an earth-like planet 1400 light years away. At six billion years old, it is 1.5 billion years older than Earth. This raises the question whether any intelligent life there has avoided destroying itself. How might earthlings evolve over a similar time period?
It will be sad but unsurprising if it turns out that Kepler-452b has produced several intelligent life forms in succession, each destroying itself after developing genocidal weapons. Back here, of course, humanity’s own ongoing quest of self-annihilation nearly succeeded in the last century. Our latest opportunity is the resolute effort by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American cohorts to foment war with Iran. They are attacking a multilateral accord, reached on July 14 after a two-year effort, designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry gave strong presentations defending the accord. Experts touted its unprecedented verification measures. The agreement was made possible by strict international sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table. J Street released a poll showing that 59 percent of American Jews support the deal. But opponents were quick to denounce it. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said the deal would march Israelis “to the door of the oven.” By contrast, in the streets of Tehran, young Iranians jubilantly chanted, “Death to no one!”
Gregory T. Angelo of Log Cabin Republicans sided with his fellow partisans, declaring that “any deal with Iran that does not include consideration of human rights abuses against women, religious minorities, and gays is a bad deal.”
The notion that no problems should be solved unless all are solved is just as foolish coming from Log Cabin as it is from gay leftists who denounce any good-but-imperfect bill or candidate. To suggest that a hard-won multilateral agreement to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons should be rejected unless every other concern is resolved is not responsible advocacy but sabotage.
Not that we should be surprised. This is the same Log Cabin that denigrated Obama when he endorsed marriage equality in May 2012. The reasoning was that Dick Cheney had beaten him to it, despite also having worked to re-elect President George W. Bush who endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment. Thus Log Cabin attacks the most pro-gay president in American history while offering cover to its homophobic friends in Congress.
Iran’s government is harshly anti-gay, but like all non-nuclear issues, that is not part of the nuclear accord. I wonder if a radical LGBT group will heckle the president over that. Surely preventing nuclear proliferation is enough for one multilateral negotiation. America has destabilized the Mideast enough.
Advancing peace in a violent world requires keeping your eye on a distant prize. Obama’s vision, endurance, and cool temperament have served him and the world well. During his recent trip to Africa, he stood beside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and criticized that country’s anti-LGBT persecution. He continues to stand with us. He is multi-tasking, as his job requires. Also last week, thanks to Obama, Cuba’s flag rose over its embassy in Washington, even as members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington sang in Cuba. With public opinion behind him, Obama is fighting to end more than fifty years of a failed American policy of isolating the island nation.
Instructive regarding the hawks’ rejection of Middle Eastern peace is a 2012 animation by Nina Paley set to Andy Williams singing “This Land Is Mine” from Exodus. It recounts millennia of slaughter at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean as one group after another claimed it in the name of their god.
1400 and a few years from now, let us hope that any intelligent creature on Kepler-452b studying the light from our solar system does not detect a wobble caused by our self-destruction. I am with the beautiful, spirited young Persians I saw on television, who have no wish to kill and die in an old conflict perpetuated by bitter men.
Richard J. Rosendall, a writer and activist. Email Richard Rosendall