By MANIFESTO JOE
Maybe they had it right, in a sense, when they said it can't happen here. In 2000, the U.S. had a presidential election blatantly stolen, with the 5-4 blessing of our Supreme Court. Four years later, the national election results sharply contrasted with the exit polling, and it was eventually demonstrated that the technology and means to "hack" some of the voting machines existed.
With few exceptions, no one raised any serious hell in the U.S., either time.
Not so right now in Iran, and richly to the credit of the people there. They are being asked to buy the idea that nearly 40 million handwritten ballots can be accurately counted and tallied in about 12 hours, and then with a clearly unpopular hard-line incumbent president winning by a huge, overwhelming landslide. Guess what -- they aren't buying it.
The unrest has become vast, with all those young Iranians taking to the streets in defiance of official repression. It makes me feel proud of the Iranians. And, it makes me feel just a bit ashamed of Americans, who, in words paraphrased from an old movie set in Mexico, with Federales looking for a gringo troublemaker: "Don't just stand there like burros! Haf you seen heem?"
We, my fellow "Murkans," just stood there like burros. Twice. No juevos, no cojones, either time. Nada.
The Iranians, for better or for worse, are not. Before them, recently, the Ukranians didn't, and to good effect. Even in Mexico, many didn't "just stand there like burros" after a questionable election outcome in 2006. And in Tiananmen Square, 20 years ago, and not in any election setting, the world witnessed one of the greatest, albeit futile, exhibitions of human courage ever seen.
So, where was the outrage in America in 2000, or in 2004?
I'd say it's when we stopped being America, and became, as George W. "Il Doofus" Bush always mispronounced it, "Murka."
And when we became Murka, a semiliterate frat pledge master like Il Doofus could have the presidency of the whole damned country stolen for him, perhaps twice. And amazingly few people said anything.
The unrest in Iran probably won't change things at the official level, and some unfortunate souls will be killed or injured. It may be all for nothing in the short run, as was the case with Tiananmen Square. But sometimes courage means that you have to fight injustice, even when you know you're going to lose.
We haven't shown that kind of courage here since about 1970. Way back then, with the long hair, bongs, ugly tie-dye and all -- we were actually America. Not Murka.
Right now, the whole world is watching -- but not Murka. They're watching Iran, of all places.
Manifesto Joe is an underground writer living in Texas. Check out his blog at Manifesto Joe's Texas Blues.