Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | March 28, 2006

Empowered by Democracy

Call me naive and idealistic, but I find that there’s something very empowering about the democratic process. Voting excites me, especially here, where there are so many parties to choose from, and a population small enough to feel that you might be able to make a difference, that you can make your vote count.

We went to our polling station this morning, Husband, the Little One, and I, greeting neighbors who were also doing their part for democracy. Until just a few days ago, I was still undecided as to who would get my vote, but in the end, I went with my conscience, and damn, did it feel good! I hadn’t been sure if I’d vote for them or not, given that I don’t like the party leader, but their platform matches my beliefs perfectly, and once I made my decision, I suddenly felt at peace. Standing behind the partition with my little blue envelope, I didn’t even hesitate. I quickly spotted the paper I needed and slid it into the envelope, knowing that my party was getting my vote.

I suppose it may seem strange to get so worked up over the simple act of putting a small piece of paper in an envelope and dropping it into the election box, but I can’t help it. I am fulfilling my obligation as a citizen, as a citizen concerned about the directions and decisions that my country will take. It is a privilege to take part in the democratic process, and this was brought home to me once again just last night as I watched the chaos currently taking place in Belarus, where people are willing to put their lives at risk in order to ensure that the democracy takes place. I wonder if I’d be strong enough to do the same if I was in their shoes, and am very grateful that I am not. Grateful that I can vote freely and know that my vote will count for something.

I have a hard time understanding those who are indifferent, those who don’t feel the need to vote. Voting is one of the most important obligations a citizen can fulfill, and democracy should never be taken for granted. I could go on about why you should get out there and vote today (assuming, of course, that you are an Israeli living in Israel – for the rest of you, think about it when your turn comes, wherever you are), but instead I’m giving you a link to an article I came across on OneJerusalem.com, which sums it up better than I ever could.

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Responses

  1. Do you realise how American you are? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  2. Maybe so, but in the US, my vote would just get lost, it wouldn’t make nearly as much difference as it can here. Besides, since when do Americans corner the market on idealism? 🙂

  3. I disagree… if she were truly American (whatever that means), she wouldn’t bother voting. The voting rate in the US is rather sad when compared with the other side of the pond. So, who’dja vote for???

  4. I think you put it very well. Maybe I wasn’t 100% happy with the choices out there, but there’s no way I wouldn’t exercise my right to vote. When I think of how many people in this world don’t live in a democracy and have no voice in the governance of their country…well, gee, how could you NOT vote? Like you, I was very happy to do my part, small as it may be.

  5. Representative government by voting is a key part of democracy. No one should forget that less than 100 years ago women were literally dying fighting for their right to vote. No matter how irrelevant, out of touch, corrupt or simply boring parliamentary/representative/party political politics seem, everyone with the right to vote should do so.

  6. Well, given the low voter turnout in Israel and what Haaretz has had to say on that, you certainly can’t claim that this is an Israeli trait anymore either. 🙂

  7. I wouldn’t dream of claiming it as an Israeli trait, especially given the levels of voter apathy here.
    Of course, now the Israeli secular leftists who chose to exercise their right not to vote will be reaping what they sowed, given that two of the bigger winners are Shas and Yisrael Beitenu – the former a strident religious party (their spiritual leader proclaimed that those who vote for them will go to heaven when they die) and the latter a strident right wing party. It will be interesting to see how the coalition turns out, and whether or not they will actually be able to get anything done.

  8. Definitely not a victory for the left, and I think we are now well and truly stuck in the mire.


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