The upcoming election for California’s Governor could be determined by the Iranian vote.
It is quite clear that; neither Iranians, nor the 2 leading candidates, Republican Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay with no political experience whatsoever but a very big PayPal account, and Democrat Jerry Brown, the current Attorney General, the former Mayor of Oakland, and a former 2-term CEO of California from 1974-1983, fully grasp that whoever wants the governorship must go through a lot of Alis and Laylas to get to Sacramento.
That is, if there are in fact as many voting Iranians in California as one seems to see everywhere you turn.
And this will require organization, that so far seems eerily absent from any of the many groups that seem interested in politics. Possibly because it’s summer vacation, or that most of the groups who are involved in the P, are in the DC, and also happen to be focused on the more prestigious US Iran relations and dinner parties that surround them. (I know, I know, sorry for the usual Bahmani cynical rant just then. Wait, here’s more…)
While the PAAIA’s and the NIACs and the IAPACs have their hands full trying to somehow support both sides of an eternally opposing Iran vs USA debate, California seems to be forgotten and the very real power Iranians could wield over the 8th largest economy in the world, ignored.
One would think that with the recent “teamwork” exhibited by the many groups involved in getting Iranians to participate in the 2010 census project, someone would have woken up by now and realized, “Holy Sh**! We could pick the next Governor!”
While local political participation by the odd US-born Iranian Town Hall, City Council, or Mayor of Beverly Hills candidates here and there (most of whom don’t even speak Farsi, get the culture, food, or traditions), seems to be the only newsworthy note put out barely occasionally by the news-less newsletters of the organizations and foundations desperate to matter, no one but no one seems to have seen the obvious biggest opportunity before us this Fall.
Of course, this pipe dream requires the kind of community organization we are not used to, and most of us are blissfully invisible when it comes to allowing our names and political affiliations onto a list that another Iranian might have access to. (although everyone seems OK with FaceBook knowing everything including our sexual orientation!) So getting all the Iranians in California to even discuss what concessions and considerations we might want in return for our votes (and our money!) to give either Whitman or Brown the compliment of a lifetime, is an impossible dream to be sure.
But let me sing to the windmills anyway (I’m wearing my armor and am already sitting on a dynamite-laden donkey!), and propose that if we dare to dream the impossible dream, and could actually organize a large pool of Iranian-Californians (Oh No! Yet another hyphenated Iranian!) to vote in one or the other direction, and were we to be even smarter than that, and actually pick the winner this time, as opposed to the fundraiser-folks who put their disastrous yet admirably cute bets on John Kerry and Goli Ameri in 2004, Iranians in California would have the respect of all politicians in the US. And politics is people, People! Gaining political and National respect has huge implications. Especially at this very important time in history.
The implications are all positive and far too many to list, but I know that you can imagine them. A lot of them.
So what will it be?
Yet more immortalizing invisibility?
Or Pre-destined Invincibility?
Quietly cowering as we shuffle anonymously through Costco to load up our BMW SUVs?
Or Proudly engaging in important State and National topics with the genius form we are capable of?
At best someone is bound to now (you’re welcome PAAIA or NIAC!) wake up, claim and “Take Charge” of all this. And we should absolutely let them step up to this plate and help out, for certain. This, as opposed to US-Iran relations, is something they absolutely should be doing.
But having witnessed the Iranian Revolution and how badly a simple thing like an innocent sounding Referendum can end up, and quietly watching “The Great Stolen Election of 2009”, and the Green Movement sputter and fizzle consequences, we must all do a simple minimum 3 things to pick the next Governor of California.
And that is to GET UP, GET ORGANIZED, and PARTICIPATE!
As FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY wrote in Crime and Punishment, “Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!”
OK, I dare you.
COMING NEXT: “An Iranian Goes to a Tea Party.”