It’s Time

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

For over a quarter century we’ve been jerked around. Enough! Show us some love.

H. Res. 252 is only the latest in a long, and perhaps farcical, series of resolutions on the House side (the Senate is an even bigger disaster) that would give proper recognition to the Armenian Genocide.

In the context of H. Res. 106, I’d written three years ago:

“Back in the seventies, we weren’t supposed to offend Turkey by daring to raise the issue of Genocide recognition so that efforts at drug interdiction (Turkey was an opium/heroin producing and later transit country) would not run afoul of the Turks’ ire. Of course there was the big, bad Soviet Union against whom Turkey was a “bulwark” (don’t laugh too hard, knowing how much aid they milked from Moscow). In the eighties it was still the red-scare argument, even with Gorbachev and glasnost, we had to attend Turkey’s ridiculously tender ego. n the nineties, it was the first Iraq war and later the Iraq embargo. It didn’t matter that the Turkey’s border with its southern neighbor made Swiss cheese look positively solid. Of course now we’re hearing about how Turkey is such an important supply route for U.S. forces in Iraq that it would endanger American soldiers’ lives if Turkey’s “righteous indignation” led it to shut down those routes.

Point is, there’s always a “reason”, and we always seem to be at the mercy of those lame excuses, with precious little leverage.

Well, things may be a bit different right now. There’s a very heated election coming up in seven weeks. Both major parties have a lot at stake. Everyone knows and sees this. It may be our time of leverage.

So there’s an effort afoot to bring H. Res. 252 to a vote on the house floor. This would have to happen before Congress recesses for the November 2nd election— leaving us less than three weeks.

Both parties’ members and leadership have every reason to court us. The Democratic Party is trying to hang on to its majority and the Republican Party wants to reclaim it after losing that standing four years ago. EVERY VOTE WILL COUNT! And, at this point, the former have more to prove. Why? Simple. A whole lot of Armenians are royally pissed at President Barak Obama for lying (he’s had two chances now) about giving proper recognition to the Genocide, and it happens that he’s a Democrat. That ire might well play out in how members of our community vote down-ticket in senatorial, house, statewide, state legislative, and even local elections (where they are partisan). In tight races, even a few votes matter. So it behooves the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives, in whose hands the decision lies, to schedule H. Res. 252 for a vote of the full House. Similarly, Republicans can only benefit by being on board and passing this measure.
Politics being what it is, some of our electeds might try to wangle concessions from us on other fronts. We should stand firm and help them understand that after a quarter century, they should be ashamed of trying to take advantage of what should have been, and IS, simply a matter of morality and decency. Vote yes on Genocide recognition—that’s our very simple message.

If this measure doesn’t pass (which political calculus says is unlikely since support is fairly strong), then let the electoral carnage begin! Just like anti-abortion, environmental, gun, women’s, etc., rights activists have thresholds they will not tolerate being crossed (e.g. Roe vs. Wade), we should make clear that this is the time when the voters will see just how real is Representatives’ support for our issues.

Watch for this vote. Watch your representatives’ vote. Vote accordingly in November.

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