Back in the 1970s, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote an article that helped explain why the Vietnam War protests represented a sea-change in American society. The key, he said, was demography -- the Baby Boom generation, which was then of draft age and personally affected by conflict, had sufficient critical mass to dominate public discourse and change the course of history.
However the Iranian election turns out, the country's supreme Ayatollah would be wise to dig up a copy of Moynihan's article. About 65 percent of Iran's population is under 30, well-educated, and eager to end the country's isolation from the West. While the ayatollahs control the country's mainstream media, they have little sway over the media that its young people actually use -- blogs, instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook and the like.
That's how they organized the mass protests that evaporated President Ahmadinejad's lead in less than a month. Taking a cue from the last U.S. presidential election, the poster in the photo above reads "Change for Iran."
Whether Ahmadinejad loses or wins, Iranian politics -- and society -- may be changing in ways no one expected.