Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Voting is Important

When people ask me why it is that I am interested in politics and vote in elections when this is seen as something nerdy and 'uncool', they are often met with a stare of disbelief and the answer 'do I really need to answer that question?'
As far as I am concern voting in an election is one of the most important things a person can do. We in the UK are lucky enough to be able to have a range of candidates on offer, be able to vote for the party we choose and not risk threats or physical violence on the way to the polling station. Free and open elections are NOT something that should be taken for granted.
Around the world people have fought and even died trying to get the right to vote in a free and open election. Over the last year the news has been filled with images of the various uprisings during The Arab Spring. Not to mention the thousands of Russians who marched through the streets of Moscow in temperatures of - 20 to show their displeasure at potentially having Putin as their President until 2024. And don't forget the people of Burma who had to wait over 20 years to be able to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi to be elected to their parliament. I'm sure these people would totally understand you not wanting to vote because it's not 'cool', not.
One thing that particularly annoys me is women who cannot be bothered to vote. Less than 100 years ago women believed so strong that just because they had a uterus did not mean that they should not get a vote that they were prepared to protest, starve, face imprisonment or even through themselves under horses just to prove their point. I'm sure that Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes would be delighted to see that all their sacrifices and hard work are so easily taken for granted.
Apathy is perhaps the most dangerous thing possible. All it takes is an apathetic majority and an active extremist minority to win an election and the UK could become like Germany in 1930 or like the Government shown in 'V for Vendetta'. As the saying goes 'People should not fear their Governments, but Governments should fear their people.'
It is one thing to not really be interested in politics to a level where you obsessively read manifestos or pay to join a part, but it is entirely another to not vote in an election because 'it's not cool' or 'it's wet outside' or 'I can't be bothered'. By not exercising your right to vote you are effectively wasting an opportunity that people the world over would do anything to have. Tomorrow is polling day, please make sure to get down to yours and don't waste something that people have fought and died trying to obtain.

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