June 16, 2009

Passion At The Polls

{Protesters gathering to demonstrate in Tehran}

In reading the stories of the horrific violence in Tehran due to the results of the nation's recent presidential election, I have experienced a dual reaction: one of sadness and one of intense admiration for the passion exhibited by the Iranian people. True that this passion has reached such a fervor to have resulted in at least seven deaths and countless injuries and arrests. The country has not seen such violence since the 1979 revolution. The Iranian people have seen such oppression and brutality from their government and their fellow citizens. Yet they continue to show their ardor for their country and their beliefs. In comparison, I think about our own presidential elections, so calm and passive. We Americans have become stale. One could argue that our democracy and further developed society create such passivity (besides the inevitable political protests). My research uncovered that both the US and Iran have 60% voter turnout based on the population of eligible voters in each country. In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 134 million Americans turned out to vote (the population of eligible US voters is 217 million). In last week's election in Iran, twenty-seven million voters turned out from an eligible population of 46 million. Of course, the size in both population numbers and geographic diversity must be factored into the comparison. This makes me think about how we vote as a country. Why do we vote? Do we just randomly check off boxes at the poll box, or do we take the time to research the candidates and the issues at hand? I'm not advocating for bloody riots in the streets of Philadelphia or San Francisco. We should use the tumult in Iran to remind us of the value of our right to vote. The right to fight for just representation (sorry, D.C.).
Image can be found here.


  1. I am reading Persepolis right now which is all about the Iranian culture and the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. It's an incredible perspective and if you are intrigued by what is going on in Iran right now I highly recommend it (it's also just an amazing book).

  2. I just finished it!! Soo good!


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