This article appeared in the December 18, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A lesson in American democracy ... in Iran

Patrick Semansky/AP
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland carries a personal copy of the Federalist Papers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 9, 2019.

With an impeachment vote today and a presidential debate tomorrow, now might seem like a good time to brush up on your understanding of the vision of America’s founders. And on a quiet corner of the internet, that is exactly what a few thousand Iranians are doing. Yes, Iranians.

That’s the work of Houshang Nourmohammadi, who was brought to my attention by a Monitor reader. It was only a few years after he came to Oklahoma from Iran, at first working a night shift washing dishes at Denny’s, that he concluded that the United States was a model for Iran – and the world, really.

Namely, it showed how diverse groups could find unity. In the Federalist Papers, he saw a young nation struggling with the centrifugal forces of slavery, economy, and religion, yet finding more power in what bound it. So now, he translates the Federalist Papers into Farsi and holds live web sessions to discuss their universal importance. He has only 2,800 followers so far, but signing up for this kind of group is dangerous in Iran, and Mr. Nourmohammadi just started a few months ago.

“The U.S. is a miniature of the world we’re going to live in,” he says. “If people can set aside their differences for a greater reason, that’s a great story.”

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This article appeared in the December 18, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 12/18 edition