Sunday, June 14, 2009

Viewing Iran Through an American Lens

The post-election unrest in Iran has inspired debate in the blogosphere about whether Ahmedinejad stole the election or won the election in a landslide. I do not have enough specific knowledge about Iran to make deeply knowledgeable judgments about the legitimacy of the Iranian election. However, I find it interesting that discussion of the Iranian election has paralleled the discussions of red state vs. blue state polarization in the 2004 presidential election. The belief that Bush could not have beaten Kerry without swiftboating or fraud is analogous to the belief that Ahmadinejad could not have won the landslide he claimed in the Iranian election without massive vote-rigging. Likewise, the belief that Ahmadinejad won handily because liberal Iranian urbanites were blind to Ahmedinejad's appeal with the pious rural population (i.e., Iran's equivalent of the "heartland") is extremely similar to the accusations that excessively aloof "latte liberals" made John Kerry lose the 2004 election. Americans think they're looking through the telescope at Iran, but they're really just looking at distorted reflections of their own political history.

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