Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting out to vote

Regardless of how people choose to exercise their right, I hope they do (did).
Voting is one of those things we take for granted. People in Iraq stood in line for hours, believing they finally had a voice. While generally I found the invasion of that country offensive, the idea that the Americans provided people with the ability to choose their own destiny was a big plus.
Countless young men, their smiling faces extinguished as a result of wars designed to TAKE AWAY the voice of the people and insert thinking of a totalitarian nature fought for our right to exercise our right to a FREE VOTE. No where is that driven home more than visiting Berlin, and witnessing the monument erected (buried) to remember the book burnings that took place during the totalitarian oppression of the Nazi's. Don't know what's there? Empty book shelves. This is the cradle of sick minded thinking that would not tolerate opposing views. I do so cherish my ability to vote, read what I want, blog if I feel like it. read the paper, (even if it is the terrible reporting of the "crack team of journalists" in the FreeP)
That brings me to an offensive story I heard today. The actual players will remain nameless, but the situation was/is real, even in todays enlightened world.
A young woman is a blog reader here. She is not really politically active, and decided to follow my advice on how to vote. To be honest, I know her fairly well, so it's not as if she picked some random blogger to follow and ask advice from. That sort of thing is akin to passing spiked kool-aid around, and we'll have none of that.
Apparently, the fact that she was going to vote for the candidates I suggested (she lives in the same ward), put her at odds with others in the house she lives in. I'd say the "home", but read on, and make your own judgment regarding how much of a "home" this is.
She was berated for NOT voting for Judy. I see no need to get into the why not. or why you should, that isn't important to the story. OK, I get a healthy disagreement about politics. What else is more divisive than possibly religion?  Apparently the young woman couldn't go vote with the rest of the people in the house because she wasn't voting the "right way". Unsure of where to go to vote, she found out where her polling station was, and walked there. The "head of the house" also wouldn't drive her to her university classes that afternoon, because she didn't vote "the right way".
You have to shake your head. I mean we have secret ballots to prevent coercion. Women have the right to vote, and DON'T need to ask their husbands who to vote for. Shouldn't the young woman be lauded for wishing to exercise her right to vote?  Frankly, she has every right to walk in there, tell the world (if she wished) who she'll vote for, tell the pollsters that she'll support their candidate, call any candidate for a ride, and vote for WHOEVER SHE WANTS.
As a man, I find it offensive that anyone would try to force a young woman (or a young man) how to cast their ballot. I find it even more offensive that this was carried out by a woman. Who better to know oppression and coercion than a woman, and then to perpetuate that offensive behaviour on anther... it's sick.
In the end, regardless of how she marked her ballot, I'm so very glad this young woman made the effort to be HERSELF and true to what SHE believed.
As far as this story goes, Sam or Judy... who cares? They're SO unimportant in this. This young woman, being true to what she chose to believe... that's freedom. That's democracy, and SHAME on you who didn't vote, for whatever lame assed reason you might have, including "I didn't like any of the candidates".
If you didn't vote, I'd like you to shut up and sit down for the next four years. YOU have nothing to complain about, and what's more, you gave away your right to complain by virtue of your apathy.

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