Saturday, April 9, 2011

Exercising a Right

I had my trip all lined up when Canadian federal elections were announced for May 2nd. Obviously I wouldn’t be able to exercise my right to choose. And for once it bothered me. When one thinks of the rebellion of common folks in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and a host of other countries, because they are literally dying to have the right to self-govern, I felt at once privileged and ashamed to have disregarded that right in the past. Made little of it. Selfishly.

I had justified my attitude by cockamamie reasons such as “… not a single one of the candidates impresses me”, or “…I’m way too busy to spend time in a futile pursuit”, or “…what’s one single vote among millions?” and other fallacious reasons. Those that many of us often utter shrugging our shoulders when surrendering this hard earned right so casually. Then my electoral id card was dropped in the mailbox.

So I enquired whether I could vote in advance. Of course! I was told. Where? Just a couple of streets down from the house. So I went. It was a breeze. And I thanked my benevolent stars to have been born in North America where democracy might not be perfect; but it is notches above dictatorship, even tyranny, and a host of curses affecting millions. Right now, there are those who are ready to give up their life for the privilege (or right?) to self-govern. And there was a time when women were not even allowed to vote. We’ve come a long way and I, for one, should appreciate having a voice.

I will never surrender that right by neglect. Perhaps it is a bit late but not TOO late.

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