Imagine yourself standing in 113 degree heat in the Iranian desert for hours just to vote. Many Americans wouldn’t bother, and many Iranians now think their efforts were futile. Some think this because they don’t believe that 40 million votes could possibly be hand counted and a winner declared just two hours after the polls closed. No machines, computers or the possibility of hanging chads, just paper ballots that signified they had a right, and a say , in who should help run their government.
As it turns out the election process in Iran was about as honest as the government’s still cloudy nuclear power intentions. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner after 20 million of the 40+ million votes were counted claiming 62% of the vote. But, what Mir Hossein Mousavi “reformist” supporters are finding perplexing, is that their candidate appears to have lost in regions of his own ethnic group and in cities where he was well known to have a stronghold. Now of course, in U.S. elections this would not necessarily be a shocking turn of events. But, in Iran, where half the population is under 25, they are relatively new to political idealism and they took to the streets in droves.
Some protest groups were as long as five miles. They are highly aware of what is at stake and are willing to fight for it. They are standing up against fundamentalism and in turn are being shot, beaten and arrested. I think as Americans we should at the very least morally support the protesters. Even though sadly, the unelected Ayatollah Khamenei, head of the ruling cleric will surely settle the score. This wasn’t an election, it was a selection.