Fascinating changes are happening in
The Shah had his good points – he was a modernizer and increased the role of women in society – but he was cruel and heartless in maintaining his rule. I’ll never forget a picture taken after the Iranian revolution which showed a man, surrounded by a crowd of people, holding up a young child who had had his arms chopped off by the Shah’s secret police as a means of punishing his father. It doesn’t get any lower than that.
But dictatorships cannot last. Despots either die or are removed through revolution. If it’s by the latter there’s a good chance the country may turn in a radical direction as
Democracies, on the other hand, may have coups but never revolutions. It’s reasonable to make another assumption; that if
For one thing, the demographics of the country would have been very different. It’s axiomatic that modern, secular countries where educating and liberating women is undertaken brings lower birth rates. I would therefore argue that the Iranian revolution is experiencing blowback from its very high proportion of young people – 60% of the population is under 25 - produced as a direct result of the repression of women.
An essential fact pertaining to the recent Iranian election that you’re probably not aware of is that Ahmedinejad’s winning margin of greater than 60% closely confirmed opinion polls prior to the vote. He very likely won the election and did it with the votes of the rural poor – he’s a populist.
What baffles me about the whole affair is why his people felt such a strong need to commit fraud or act suspiciously like they were committing fraud (I won’t go into the details but take it from me, there was a lot of fishy stuff going on) when he had the vote sewed up. Maybe they anticipated the backlash from restive youth and the urban elite yearning for a more open, modern society and wanted to wrap it up very quickly.
Meanwhile their brutish, heavy handed response to the demonstrations and protests has turned a large segment of society as well as the international community against them. Furthermore it has exposed the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who is supposed to have a divine mandate, as a crass political hack. At this point his rule will be permanently tainted. When politics and religion mix, both are sullied.
The mark of a true democracy, or maybe I should say, an evolved democracy, is how well it treats its minorities. As long as the conservative clerics leave no room for the urbane, the educated, the youth to express themselves, unrest will develop. And in this case could well mean revolution.
Another factoid worthy of note in all the hoopla about
And yet a recent poll showed 60% of Americans in favor of some form of direct government involvement in health care whether it be single-payer or a public option to private health insurance. If you further break down those numbers into political affiliation you see about 90% of Democrats in favor. Just who then are the Democrats representing?... Exactly. The Democrats lately have received more money from the health care industry than the Repugs. In fact, it looks like a single-payer bill, co-sponsored by 90 representatives, will come up for a vote in the House though it’s sure to lose since the leadership is totally opposed. Voters will get a chance to see where their representative’s true loyalties lie.
The minority in
To understand how low down the discourse in America has gotten there’s no better example than seeing pensioners disrupting town hall meetings by yelling they don’t want the government to mess with their Medicare. It doesn’t get any dumber than that. Or realizing that a majority of Repugs think Obama is not an American citizen. Those people are so stupid they are dangerous.
As for me, if my personal life wasn’t so easy and enjoyable I’d be freakin’ end of the line cynical. If I had to live in the States I’d be positively livid. What’s most depressing to me about the situation in