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Let me explain — With or without you


When the American people took to the polls to choose the 45th president of the United States, all eyes were watching them.

You couldn’t open Facebook without story after story filling your newsfeed, cartoons, editorials in newspapers and coverage of presidential debates splattered on the television screen.

After the election there were riots, demonstrations, and chants of “Not my president” and complete shock that Donald Trump had been declared the winner not to mention countless Facebook arguments of who was the lesser evil — Trump or Clinton.

Now, I can’t get into the specifics on the electoral college, voting process or how he came to win or lose — which is still a shock to some.

I certainly didn’t choose Team Trump or Team Clinton because you see I’m Canadian and I had no say in the matter prior to the election and none after it.

I can just imagine some people get hot around the collar hearing that, but let me explain.

An editorial on the Pilot website (you can read it at http://www.lportepilot.ca/opinion/editorials/2016/11/15/editorial--no-show-voters-deciding-the-winners.html) states that only 43 per cent of eligible voters in America came out to vote.

We can’t cast the first stone though. In the 2015 provincial election only 55.2 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot.

Shame on them, shame on us.

Some will say that it doesn’t matter who you vote for politicians are all the same, but are they?

How can we say we are concerned about our economy, our future and our children’s future and not exercise our democratic right to vote?

It’s the people who put politicians in place to lead our province and our country. If you don’t vote then you can’t complain that the premier or prime minister is doing a terrible job. You should have voted for the other person and maybe enough people who share your thoughts would have changed the numbers and swayed the final decision.

And ladies, we should be the first ones at the polls. I know I’ve voted in every election since the age of 18.

Why?

Because of the generations before us that had to fight tooth and nail to earn the right to vote. We weren’t always allowed to voice our opinions and vote on the leaders we wanted or the changes we needed.

Women in Canada met with strong opposition when the suffrage movement began.

According to www.canadahistoryproject.ca “Women got the federal vote in three stages: the Military Voters Act of 1917 allowed nurses and women in the armed services to vote; the Wartime Election Act extended the vote to women who had husbands, sons or fathers serving overseas; and all women over 21 were allowed to vote as of January 1, 1919. Provincially, women were given the vote in 1916 in the four western provinces, in 1917 in Ontario, in 1918 in Nova Scotia, in 1919 in New Brunswick, in 1922 in Prince Edward Island, and in 1940 in Quebec.”

What can we learn from the most recent American election? If you want change, if you support a candidate, if you want your voice heard — you better get out and vote — someone is going to be elected with or without your ballot.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

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