Monday, June 15, 2009

A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES... inspired by a comment made by Valentine Marofsky

Two headlines today….

A tale of two countries.

It seems likely that the people of Iran have been boldly screwed over by their own government. The Iranian Presidential candidate supported by the apparent majority, Mousavi, was declared to be not just the loser, but a pitiful, pathetic loser. Mousavi – according to the “official” vote count was roundly and soundly trounced, humiliated and ground into the electoral dirt like a bug beneath the Shoe of Iran. We are told he even lost the popular vote in his own hometown, in his own province, among his own clan or tribe, so to speak. Of course he did.

In the spirit that brought more than a million Ukrainians out in the -20 below zero cold when their Presidential election was rigged; and with the fervor that inspired hundreds of thousands of Poles to rise up against their Soviet masters in support of Solidarity, now we see Iranians – by the hundreds of thousands – young and old – men and women – in the streets protesting the bogus outcome of their election.

And who is it we see at the head of the protesting crowd – microphone in hand – demanding freedom and justice? Why it’s the candidate himself – Mousavi! The people vote and now they protest. They voted for him and he stands with them!

Over here, in the comfort of the richest society ever to exist on this planet – the United States of America - we have “victims” venting their outrage. But, have they the courage of the Iranians? Do they hold the ethical high ground? Or do they stand on squishier stuff? When I see the Madoff protestors I am reminded of drug dealers stealing from one another. And who are these victims? Looks to me like the aggrieved drug dealers – in this case the poor “victims” of Bernie Madoff – are demanding retribution from the more successful, surviving thief. The greedy have been fleeced by the even greedier.

My heart is with the Iranians.

I wonder what the Iranian people have that we lack? Where were we in 2000, after Florida? Where was Al Gore? Where were we – again – in 2004, after Ohio? Where was John Kerry?

In those elections we showed our true American colors, and so too did our candidates.

Were we ever a match for the Iranians?

In 1824 Andrew Jackson won the general election for President. In a four-way race, he finished a convincing first. But he was denied the necessary Electoral Votes and the US Congress voted to make the son of a former President – a man with the same name as his father, made slightly different only by the addition of an extra initial – Congress made him the new President. They did this despite the fact that John Q. Adams was beaten by Andrew Jackson and finished second to Jackson in the voting.

Like Mousavi has done in Iran, and most unlike what either Al Gore or John Kerry did, Andrew Jackson denied the credibility of the Adams’ administration. He took his case to the people. He spent the next four years telling anyone who would listen – and there were many who were eager to hear him – that their vote had been corrupted, denied, destroyed and rejected. Jackson ran again in 1828 and this time he won a landslide victory. He served two terms as US President and many of us see him now, perhaps everyday – staring at us from the middle of the twenty-dollar bill. A hundred and eighty-five years after his bitter defeat, Andrew Jackson is still an American hero

Do you think anyone will even know who Al Gore or John Kerry were a hundred and eighty-five years from now? We can only imagine what the future holds for Mr. Mousavi?

Good luck to the brave Iranians who risk life and limb to claim the full value of their vote. As for the Americans and their outrage over the swindler Bernie Madoff? For me they seem very much like that hot mustard you get when you order Chinese food. You know, the stuff that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

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