Right now, the Iranian “government” is dropping chemical agents on “protesters”. I use scare quotes, because I’m not sure if the “government” is that, or usurpers, or tyrants. (Actually, I know that they are tyrants.) And I don’t know if the “protesters” are just protesters, or if they have or are about to move over into insurgents or revolutionaries. The difference between insurgent and revolutionary is whether or not you succeed.
I’ve said before that I don’t even know if Ahmadinejad stole the election. To me, it is significantly likely that he actually did win, but cheated anyways to make sure.
The lesson for America to me is stark. In order for an election to be successful, the majority of the people must see it as legitimate. Ahmadinejad may have screwed himself by ruining any sense of legitimacy by being ham-handed with his fraud. The Iranian people have had their elections meddled with long enough that they have a much higher tollerance for shenanigans than Americans do. Even with that, they felt disenfranchised by this treatment, and now people are dying, and the dying isn’t over.
There were serious questions about the legitimacy of both the 2000 and 2008 elections. Both were serious situations, but a large portion of our society is far, far too cavalier about the 2008 legitimacy. Obama was too cavalier about proving his constitutional legitimacy, and is pouring fuel on the fire by casting a blatant appearance of partisanship in prosecuting polling intimidation.
Too many of us take the legitimacy of our elections too lightly. There are enough people who now question the legitimacy of our elections to start buckling down and doing things by the book, instead of letting ACORN run wild with voter fraud and turning a blind eye to voter intimdation.
One of the rallying cries of the American Revolution was, “No Taxation Without Representation”. A vital part of representation is the belief that your vote is actually counted. To be disenfranchised is to be without representation. It’s no coincidence that the Tea Parties started almost immediately after the ACORN fraud of 2008.
If the same thing happens in 2010, it will get worse. If nothing changes before 2012, well, that’s four long years of every supplier selling out of ammuntion and powder as soon as it hits the shelves.