Friday, November 7, 2008

Liberty and Equality

Goodness me it's a rainy one today! Apparently I really do need gumboots here in Vancouver, and they are not just the Kate Moss Glastonbury-esque fashion accessory I first thought. My only problem is finding ones that fit (lets just call my calves.....curvy) and not millions of dollars. Anyway, it is lovely to be home now with slippered feet and a hot cup of tea.
It has felt like every day is election day around here lately. Canada voted a few weeks ago and Vancouver will be voting again this coming week (I think...) for their Municipal elections. I think most of us watched as America voted earlier this week, and I am getting ready to watch New Zealand vote tonight.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, something to be pretty proud of, and I believe involving yourself in the political system is vitally important. So....I am quite disappointed that my voting papers never arrived after trying to register twice and I have to watch New Zealand shift over to the National Party, with likely coalition partners that are even further right...and not ever really getting to take an active part in it.

If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.

- Aristotle

Watching the U.S. election as it unfolded was such an amazing thing to me. We both sat here (beer and chips in hand) with tears in our eyes as Obama gave his acceptance speech. I truly never thought I would see the day, and seeing Jesse Jackson crying in the crowd of Grant Park summed up so much. A man having been with Martin Luther King as he died, a man who has fought long and hard for civil rights and taken part in his own fight for the presidency, and then to finally see a black man as president. What an amazing moment.

I think the thing that was so profound throughout the U.S. election, was the record numbers in which people turned out to vote and involve themselves in the political system. Something that John McCain said in his speech really resonated with me, that Obama had been able to convince people who previously thought they didn't matter, that their voice in fact could be heard in the electoral system. In my opinion it is still by no means perfect, but the sheer numbers of voters and the giant lead that Obama won by show that there has been a massive shift in thinking. Of course he convinced people by being a voice of change and hope, and a voice for people who previously had been unheard.

For these reasons, I am incredibly grateful that New Zealand as a system of proportional representation. I realise that it can be confusing, and that people don't like that it isn't a clear-cut resolution.....but, voices are heard. Voices that I myself don't always agree with, but they have every right to be in government because someone has put them there.

Now I just have to sit back and hope that there are enough leftist, hippy greenie voices making themselves heard back home today as I bake, knit under a quilt and keep an eye on the computer all the way over here in rainy B.C.


Blossoming said...

So well-written, you clever girl!