It’s Election Day here in Canada. Voter turn-out may be higher than usual today. A lot of people are frustrated enough to actually get up and go out and mark an X on a piece of paper. Something that you wouldn’t think would be soooooo difficult. Something that, as a woman, I am always grateful and proud to do, remembering that, when my mother was born, she wasn’t even considered a person under Canadian law. Something that on even a cursory skimming of world headlines you realize that people are literally dying to do.
I vote because I care. I vote because I can. Mostly I vote because of Debbie.
I met her at school. We were 12 and, from the first day of grade seven until the end of high school, she was the one. You know what I mean. Every school has one. The one they all picked on. The one they made fun of, pushed, laughed at, hated.
I was the coward in the corner thanking Christ it wasn’t me. I didn’t actively participate. But I didn’t help either, because helping would have made me a target and I was too afraid.
When we studied the Holocaust and everyone in class was sure that they’d be terribly brave, would do the right thing, I thought of Debbie. And I wondered.
Years have passed, but deep down I suspect that I am still that same cowardly girl. That, if it came to it, chances are I wouldn’t be able to be brave enough.
So every election, no matter what else is going on, even when it’s raining, I go out and I vote. I vote for fair play. I vote for human rights. I vote for the people who want to move us forward.
Democracy isn’t perfect. Everyone says so, no matter what the details of their democracy happen to be.
It isn’t perfect, but it sure beats wondering if I could ever be that brave.
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(This post may sound familiar to some of you. It’s a slightly reworked version of a piece I wrote on an earlier blog the last time we went to the polls. I thought it was maybe worth repeating.)