Grading Democracy on a Curve

Raging Moderate
Will Durst

Want to take this time to congratulate the Iranian people for upgrading to a participatory government where they feel empowered enough to take to the streets to complain. For those of you who have been too busy digging under bushes for returnable bottle deposits, there is major rioting going on in the country formerly known as Persia, due to their sneaking suspicion of rampant voter fraud. Hundreds of thousands are risking arrest, death and worse, demonstrating their shock at the corruption of their leaders. Of course, here in the US, we’ve learned to take that sort of thing in stride, and grade on a curve.

The election results in dispute find Members Only aficionado Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning the presidency with 63 percent of the vote. Well, there’s your problem right there. Mahmoud, baby. You want to rig an election, you don’t claim 63 percent. You squeak by with 51 percent. Didn’t you guys learn anything from Karl Rove? At least let the other guy appear to win his home district. After all, he’s not Al Gore.

In that knee-jerk manner as peculiar to totalitarian regimes as bikini waxing is to cast members of “Gossip Girl,” Iranian authorities blamed America for the unrest. That’s right. We’re responsible for their amateurish rigging of a phony election. They may have a point. In a way, it IS our fault. Re-repressing a populace after they’ve Twittered and Facebooked and Tranny Shacked is like trying to stuff the subjugation toothpaste back into the tube. Best way is to razor the nozzle off, cram the domination back in with a rubber spatula then staple the nozzle back onto the tube. Which is a bit unwieldy. But much easier when not exposed to the sun guns of the Western media.

Of course, our excitement over this burgeoning democracy may be a bit premature. It’s not like the dissident challenger, former Prime Minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is a raging capitalist. We keep referring to him as a moderate, but in Iran, a moderate is any Shi’ite who’s run out of bullets. Another inconvenient truth.

Even if the election is overturned, (about as likely as the eventual victory celebration being held at an Irish pub), you might want to hold off on sending that Constitutional Starter Kit. Don’t think they’re quite ready for a string of NRA chapters, is all I’m saying. Just to get on the ballot over there you need the okay of the Supreme Leader. And there’s another problem. How free is your election, really, when you have to clear your candidacy with somebody called Supreme Leader? Sounds like the adversary of Moose and Squirrel.

The Supreme Leader in question is Ayatollah Khamenei, a totally different despot than the Ayatollah Khomeini, but they do share the same barber. In response to the massive officially banned protests, Khamenei recanted his initial rubber stamp of the election and called upon the 12 member Council of Guardians to investigate the vote. Unh-hunh. Oh yeah. That’s going to help. Kind of like putting the 2000 Florida election into the impartial hands of one of the candidate’s brothers.

Of course, one big difference is, in Iran, when they talk about hanging chads, they’re not referring to cardboard punchouts, but foreign journalists named Chad. Pretty sure they have hanging Jeremys and hanging Rogers as well. Not to mention a soon-to-be veritable rash of hanging Mir Hosseins.

Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic.

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