Why I Voted – Canada Elections 2015

People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
~ Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

I was born in a country where meetings of more than two people would be considered suspicious and voting and civil rights were temporary banned in many periods, including the education and books that went with it.

Even mentioning these topics was subversive; I grew up with fear and was taught to be extremely careful about what I spoke in public, what I wore and what pictures I would have in my books.

(I clearly recall grandma hiding a book on civil education under her sofa, and me taking it when she was gone and reading its pages trying to understand why a book on human rights that was used to teach fifth graders about the democratic system was now part of the “black list” and people finding with it would even risk jail time)

In the second country I lived, voting was associated with long lines, many times under the hot Caribbean sun or storm-like rain. In many occasion, voting was synonymous of danger as extremist groups (and sometimes, even the police and army), would attack voters with tear gas, fake guns and sometimes, real ones.

Even when you voted, you would never know how much of it was transparent: sometimes your name would not appear in the lists, other times you were told somebody already voted with your name and ID, others, you heard stories of dead or underage people “voting”…

Voting, in many cases, was a “duty” and a “right” that you did and then came home to continue with the life you had…it was the “big men” up there who had the power to transform your overall reality and “represent” you and your community.

That story, sadly, is still being told and repeated by many…thankfully, it is starting to change.

Canada…

I just voted: took my keys, ID and a book and peacefully walked down the street to the local Elementary School. The line had only 20 people and run fast: I was ready in less than 5 minutes!

There are even pages that help you select strategically and understand the parties’ priorities and claims: http://www.votetogether.ca/

The most important thing for me is that voting is just a small piece in the big puzzle: it is not something you do and come back home to continue with everyday chores, hoping that “they” (whoever are the “chosen”) will “fix” the many predicaments we have collectively created or allowed to be…

I’m grateful I can now vote (this is the second federal election for me), but I am even more grateful that I can say and write and share what I feel is right, that I can meet in public with my tribe without being scared of police raids, that I can carry and read books that speak openly about what’s wrong with this system, and that I can share my skills and efforts with others to turn the wheels towards a more resilient, sustainable and ethical future…

Today, I also voted for all those who can’t and will never be able to…

Disappeared children in Argentina - the only thing that separates me from them is
Disappeared children in Argentina – the only thing that separates me from them is “luck”…I could have been one of them!

The ending is nearer than you think, and it is already written. All that we have left to choose is the correct moment to begin.”
~ Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

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