To vote or not to vote?

As a citizen in a democracy everyone is supposed to have the same opportunity and same rights. The level of truth in that statement depends on how well the democracy is run. One function for the democracy to be run well is how educated its people are. With education I do not mean that people have to hold a bachelor or masters degree in university.

I mean that people should be active in learning about their environment and the world around it, that they read newspaper and follow the news. Another way to be educated is to be a member in an association. The association does not need to be political parties, it could be a membership in sports club. This teaches people democracy in practice, to argue for their ideas and listen to other peoples ideas and vote for the best one.

Now I hear a lot about that this new generation in Iran is very smart and experienced in politics thanx to the internet and the satellite channels, and I am sure that many of them are. But still if you ask a typical young Iranian that has come out of Iran how he defines democracy and sees it you will find that they do not know it at all. They just know they want to become like west.

The problem is that the satellite dishes in Tehran are locked at Los Angeles based music channels all day or populistic figures shouting all day on some FOX channel wannabes. 

Iranians are all divided for this years election as the ones before that. The question is as always to vote or not to vote. For the Iranians abroad is this question even more interesting since they really have to make an effort to vote. They have to go to the cities that have the embassies and pass all the people shouting ugly words to get to the ballot box after deciding to vote.

Since some elections back the rift between some parts of the establishment is more and more obvious. Now this rift could be because of a democratization process, or more probable because the number of people in the upper class have increased so much that all their interests do not fit into a single “party”. But no matter what the reason is on the creation of this rift, the rift is there or is it not?

There are some who think that the rift is just a show and they are from the same bunch. I have two answers to that. Firstly even in your family that have much closer ties than these people do, do you always agree? Now make the family bigger, make it a clan, now make it several clans. Different clans do have different interests and fight for those interests. You can see for example the government today is established by many people from national guards, but at the same time the former head of the national guards is entering the elections and calling Ahmadinejad’s government result as failure and want to split his votes.

Another answer is the situation that Iranians outside the country feel today compare with the years of former government. In those days Iran was being accepted more and more by the rest of the world, Iran was making friends in Arab world, today Iran is not even welcomed by its closest neighbors and feared by most of the world.

So as you see, there is a difference between a president and a president in Iran. 

My answer to the question is to vote since there is no other real option. There is no one even remotely close to my ideals that is going to be in the start field of this election, but I think I still would go and vote for a government that I do think is least negative for Iran and Iranians. To have a democracy we Iranians from all parts of Iran and class of society do need to evolve. We need an evolution and evolution if you ask takes time and effort.

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