Monday, October 19, 2015

Election Day

It is said that if people don't learn from history, they are doomed to repeat it.  But first they have to know what the history really is.

The truth is, women in Canada have been able to vote for less than 100 years.  For some of us, that is within our grandmother's lives.

Democracy, as it is currently practiced in North America, is a very new concept.  And suffrage did not come to everyone at once, nor did it come easily.  Women (and other 'minorities') were considered too mentally 'feeble' to wield the power of the vote.  It took courage for women to request, then demand the vote, up to and including being beaten, restrained, jailed and forcibly fed when they went on hunger strikes to make their point.  Some died as a result of the brutality inflicted on them.

Voting in Canada is done by secret ballot.  While it is currently a right, it is even more importantly a privilege.  Voting is the primary way an individual can make their opinions heard by the government.  Politicians are first and foremost concerned with getting (re)elected and votes are what do that job.

Having a secret ballot means that no matter who tries to coerce or frighten someone into voting their way, when the voter is standing with ballot in hand, no one is looking over their shoulder watching where they place their 'X'.  And they do not have to report or justify who they voted for to anyone.

Yes, I voted today, as I do most every election.  I have missed a few due to being out of the country.  It's a responsibility of citizenship I take very seriously.

I'm hoping to watch the movie Suffragette at some point.  It will be painful, but every woman from age 16 up should see it so that they understand why voting is so very important.  If the movie is too graphic, any history of the suffragette movement would be interesting reading.

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