Today’s post is more ‘serious’ than usual. I exercised my right and responsibility to vote in today’s federal election. Some of you know that I moved from Texas to Canada in 2007 and became a Canadian citizen in 2011. This is the first federal election in which I am eligible to vote.
I was blessed to grow up in a very politically aware family. We watched the network news every evening, read current affairs magazines, were encouraged to be aware of politics as well as social and world events. At our dinner table, dinner was served, then discussion which was often about politics and current events. I skedaddled home from school to watch the Watergate hearings which laid bare the paranoia of a President; the evidence brought out essentially forced Richard Nixon to resign in deserved disgrace. Growing up as I did I was aware of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Preston Manning, Joe Clark, aware of Brian Mulroney and the Kim Campbell debacle, Jean Chretien declining in 2003 to join the coalition to unseat Saddam Hussein (that act of conscience and independence made a huge impression on me).
My parents imparted the lesson that voting is not only a right, it’s a responsibility. It went beyond the ‘If you don’t vote you can’t complain’ trope. It meant being educated about the parties and their platforms, the candidates, the issues, comparing all of this to my beliefs and conscience. And participating in our representative democracy in the States, now in a parliamentary democracy. While all elections are important this one is particularly important. I was, am, very pleased to be able to vote.
Sometimes we can become complacent, take things for granted. Being an immigrant, a new citizen, has helped me remember sometimes to not become complacent. I am very fortunate to live in Canada, where the hydro is reliable, I live in a safe community and country, do not have to worry about military coups, juntas, despots, barrel bombs. Where I can exercise my right and responsibility to vote my conscience freely without fear of reprisal, and believe my vote counts.