Saturday, April 23, 2011

Civic Duty

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-- John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

I voted today! It was easy and a touching experience. Though I probably could have voted in Canada from the US, I haven't voted in a federal election since 1993.

Democracy is fragile. I'm in a Toastmasters public-speaking club, and discovered the following while researching a talk:

(a) Canadian aboriginals were only able to vote, freely, in federal elections in 1960 (before that they had to give up "First Nations" status)

(b) Women won the vote in Switzerland in 1971

That is a surprisingly short time ago. (Not as poignant as the current struggles in Africa and the Middle East, but those issues are too obvious re: giving a talk).

In other political news, this rant by Rick Mercer laid down a challenge to the disillusioned youth of Canada (the 18-24 demographic turned out at 37% in 2008). Happily, the youth have responded with energetic, positive "vote mobs" as illustrated here.


ps. For American readers, the vote is May 2. I was at an advance poll.

pps. Kudos to the Elections Canada website. I found it useful and user-friendly.

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