“Pursuit of the Golden Lily” is a new novel by R. Emery, inspired by her father's WWII POW diary. Initially documenting the author's journey to return the diary to Thailand where it was written, the Blog now follows her experiences as she self-publishes, launches the novel and reflects on topics woven into the narrative.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

To Vote Or Not To Vote?

When I asked a friend yesterday whether she was going to vote in the US Election, she said something to the effect of: "I don't feel in my heart that I should vote - from a 'higher' perspective it all seems too crazy and chaotic, not something I want to be a part of."
I didn't respond right away. I needed time to reflect on what she had said. I muttered something about it being a personal choice. In hindsight I see that I did not say: "I respect your choice", because I didn't.
I am Canadian - born British. I consider that to be an immense privilege in and of itself because of the rights I inherited as a citizen of those countries, such as the right to vote. I did not have to fight for that right, but my forbearers did, so I try not to forget that, no matter how disillusioned I am with political leaders.
Democracy is not perfect, but it's the system we currently have here in North America. Until a better system evolves it is one of the only ways a citizen's voice can affect change at both the local and national level (although I am sure some would dispute that). I understand people's disappointment in the political system, I really do. However, I feel that choosing to abstain from voting is not only an insult to all those who died fighting for the right to do so (both historically and still to this day in some places parts), but it is also an egregious abdication of responsibility toward the community of which one is a part.
As it happens, my friend is an ardent environmentalist who campaigns for issues like climate change, clean water, healthy food, protecting the environment and all living beings.
She is passionate about women's rights, cares about community and the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.
She wants a world of peace where people live alongside one another in harmony. 
Her vote could help protect or destroy the provisions that have been put in place to protect every one of those issues.
What did I learn from history, as I researched for this book?
I learned that democracy is a fragile system that can be rocked to the core when political leaders are demagogues, hell bent on imposing their own narcissistic agendas.
I learned that people can be duped into believing anything, especially if the indoctrination is embedded in fear-based propaganda.
I learned that when people have nothing, they can easily be led to believe that there is nothing to lose. But there is.
I learned that by scorning intellectuals, artists, writers, philosophers and the educated, masterful dictators can convince the uneducated to rise up against them. Ironic, since in most cases those very people are in actual fact working to better the quality of life for all.
I learned that the unthinkable can happen - in a very short period of time.
I love my friend. But I have to say that I think her choice not to vote is a selfish one, and I will tell her, when the appropriate moment arises.
Let's not forget where our rights have come from.
Let's move forward, not backwards. There is so much that we can do if we learn from the past and embrace the incredible opportunities that exist when we collaborate, not alienate.
I vote for that!
And, I voted in the last Canadian election too!

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