When thousands of idealistic youth take to the streets in protest of an obviously rigged election, I find myself rallying to their cause. As a rule, I am pro idealistic youth, and anti rigged elections.

As the days pass, my pro-protester fervor only grows. I cheer on the Iranian people's seemingly unstoppable passion, and happily track the power of communication technology in action. Dictators these days simply can't silence their opposition the way they used to. Briefly, I consider donning a green head scarf and sallying forth in search of a cloud of tear gas from which to Twitter.

But then.

The New York Times reports:

On Monday, a group of as many as a thousand demonstrators at Haft-e-tir Square in central Tehran was quickly overwhelmed by baton-wielding riot police and tear gas shortly after the Revolutionary Guards issued an ominous warning on their Web site saying that protesters would face "revolutionary confrontation."


Iranian state media has put the total of protesters who have died since the election at less than 20, but opposition Web sites and protesters say the number is far higher.

It's hard to know for sure, since foreign reporters have been banned from Iran, but the protest seems to have been cruelly crushed, at least for now.

This is an ominous development. My reaction to this, in internet speak, is an inarticulate :-( .

But there is a silver lining.

Two of them.

One of them is that the occasional quote being emitted by Iran's leadership is ridiculous to the point of being funny.

"Sometimes the difference is 100,000, 500,000 or even 1 million," Ayatollah Khamenei said in his speech to the nation Friday. "In that case, one could say that there might have been vote-rigging. But how can they rig 11 million votes?"

I have to say, Mr. Ayatollah, that you are not making a lot of sense. But I understand, it's hard to be reasonable while tyrannizing an entire nation full of sophisticated, freedom-loving techies. The multi-tasking involved could tax anybody's speechmaking skills.

The other silver lining is a significant reduction in paranoia around the world.

Let us compare the two candidates.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a self-identified radical who has isolated Iran from the rest of the world and expanded the reach of Sharia (Islamic law) since his election in 2005. He has loudly denied the Holocaust and made venomous threats against the State of Israel. (The only discussion is whether he actually said he wants to "wipe Israel off the map," or whether that's a translation of a Persian idiom that means the same thing.)

Mir Hossein Mousavi, on the other hand, who officially lost the election, promises equality for women. He says he will eliminate the "moral police" and encourage a free press. He wants to improve ties with the West. And (though I am momentarily stunned that this even needs to be said) he has condemned the killing of Jews in the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad: Widely acknowledged bad guy. (And even more so now that the world has seen what he did these past ten days.)

Mousavi: Folk hero and Facebook friend to many.

Easily ignored fact: Mousavi, like Ahmanidejad, has no intention of suspending Iran's nuclear program. On April 27, he told Der Spiegel, "We will not abandon the great achievements of Iranian scientists. I, too, will not suspend uranium enrichment." This is the very same nuclear development program that has had everyone so worried over the past few years.

In fact, this past Tuesday, President Obama told CNBC that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi "in terms of their actual positions may not be as great as has been advertised."

Now imagine the scene: Mousavi is allowed to take the victory that is fairly his. The world rejoices, excited by the new era of freedom and human rights in Iran that this portends.

A few lone voices continue to worry about Iran's nuclear development, realistically asserting that ultimately, Iran is controlled by unpredictable ayatollahs who continually profess their hatred of Israel.

Everyone else calls these lone voices spoilsports, and said lone voices are ejected from polite company. Lone voices become paranoid, as do other, silent voices who think maybe something worrisome is happening in Iran but are not sure, since everyone else is so happy about events there. General paranoia ensues.

On the other hand, the way things are now, voices of reason can do their thing, even when hobnobbing with the dreamiest of optimists. Everyone knows who the bad guy is – Ahmadinejad – and everyone can unite against him.

Like most silver linings, there is a relevant prophecy to bolster this one. The prophet Daniel tells us that before Moshiach's coming, Yitbareru v'yitlabnu hadvarim. "Things will become clear and distinct."

A student of history can observe that over the years, a series of philosophies have bubbled up that seemed at first glance to be beneficial, but turned out to be harmful. For example, communism, a cause that was advanced by idealistic and well-meaning people all over the world, brought about the deaths of tens of millions.

We are a pretty confused species. Good and evil are disguised as each other. But just before Moshiach arrives, Daniel tells us, good and evil will become distinct. (This is a preparation for the next step, which will be the complete dissolution of evil.) We will know for sure who our enemies are.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad's victory, even if it is the result of transparent fraud, is one of the fulfillments of this prophecy.