I am a little bit ashamed to say that today is the first time I have ever voted in a government election. I have been eligible to vote for, oh, three decades or so.
I became a US citizen last year, which obviously confers the right to vote (along with the privilege of paying US income tax for the rest of my life, no matter where I live and earn in this big wide world. But that’s a topic for another post.)
I used to live in Australia, where voting is compulsory. There, I declined to vote through a mixture of apathy and resentment. You could call it teen angst, that lasted at least a decade (or two) too long.
But now I’m a bit older and wiser. I think of all the strong and strident women and minorities and various oppressed people who sacrificed life and freedom for the right to vote, to choose those who make the laws that proscribe our lives, and I feel ashamed that I haven’t exercised this right they fought for.
So today, at last, I did. And it felt good, despite the fact that my name wasn’t on the register and I had to cast a ‘provisional vote’ which may or may not be counted.
It’s better than no vote. It’s better than being denied the right to speak.
Participatory democracy. A good thing, in my book. Your thoughts??