Everyone should vote, simply because he or she is able to do so. Voting is not only a duty, it is a privilege. There are many countries in the world where people are not allowed to vote for their leaders, or where elections are rigged so that those in power remain in power.
Saudi Arabia, Oman and Vatican City are examples of absolute monarchies, in which the ruler holds all the power. Officials and administrators are appointed by the this leader and may be removed at any time.
North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba, Zimbabwe and many other African nations are examples of dictatorships. No meaningful elections will be held in these unfortunate regimes for the foreseeable future, because the dictator will not risk losing his power.
In many countries where democratic elections are supposedly held, the process is flawed or the results are tampered with. Remember the fiasco of the last election in Iran?
In America, the right to set up a government independent of England was purchased with the price of great suffering and many lives, during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In years following, many more young Americans paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain and safeguard this freedom, during World Wars I and II.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. Canadians also fought and died in both World Wars to safeguard their freedom.
In a well-known poem by a Canadian, Major John McCrae, (1872-1918) written during World War I, we are reminded of perhaps the best reason of all to get out and vote. This soldier wrote:
“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.”
The torch of freedom is now in the hands of our generation. Many young men and women are fighting and dying in the mountains and on the deserts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to preserve our freedom and protect our way of life.
And we at home, as we continue to benefit from the daily sacrifices of these brave men and women, what are we asked to contribute to the continuation democratic process? Really not much, except for the support of our prayers and the exercise of our franchise on Election Day.
However, we are not only persuaded to vote by reflecting on issues in the past and the present. We must also look to the future. We were born into countries which are strong, glorious and free because of the sacrifices of our ancestors. Our duty is to maintain their strength and freedoms and pass them on, unspoiled, to our children. To do this, we must familiarize ourselves with the candidates and the issues and vote on Election Day.
Edmund Burke once said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” The present-day evils are acts of terrorism planned and carried out by Muslim extremists. They endanger the safety of ourselves, our families and our way of life. They must not be allowed to succeed. Every citizen in a free democracy must exercise his or her duty and privilege and cast a ballot on Election Day.