What makes me think that? It's the fact that, despite have an "election" in what amounts to a dictatorship last Friday and despite the fact that the highly unpopular incumbent was proclaimed "winner" immediately after the elections ended and despite the repeated threat of physical violence and death, people are still protesting the results.
They have a right to be royally pissed off. I mean, I haven't seen one this rigged since Chicago's last election.
But seriously, you have to wonder why Iran bothered. Here they are, a dictatorship controlled by the Grand Ayatollah who has all the power, holding elections for a guy whose job it is to shout a lot. The people get to pick from a bunch of candidates who are preapproved by a government council, so everyone is already basically on the same side. And then they hold the damn thing, which produced record turn out at 45 million paper ballots cast, and then announced a winner within two hours of the polls closing and, surprise surprise, the winner is the guy that the Grand Ayatollah liked the whole time. Unless Iranian's are blessed with superhuman mathematical abilities, there's no way in hell they counted 45 million paper ballots in two hours. Oh, and he won by a ludicrously made up margin of victory.
Looking at that, you almost have to wonder why the hell anyone would bother voting.
But they did. 45 million people did. And when it became so blatantly obvious that the majority of people were ignored they wigged out. And then, when the state basically shut down the media and started beating people and setting college dorm rooms on fire, they wigged out even more.
You have to respect them for that.
It's at times like this where I like to take a moment and be thankful. Sure, the economy is falling apart around us and then the government and media and damned Sammy Sosa and so on, but there are some good things about this country. Namely:
- Candidates for high office aren't chosen by a group of ten government employees but by a long drawn out primary process whereby the candidates are forced to spend millions of dollars raised through fund raisers
- Large amounts of people weren't killed last time there was an election
- The media, by virtue of sensationalism and ratings, will blow everything out of proportion such that it's hard to get away with rigging an election
- Even when elections are rigged, they at least have the decency to draw the process out for weeks and make it appear as though all the votes are going to be counted
- We don't live in Iran
Keep it up, Iranians! One day, if you're lucky...