A FOREST OF INK CAPS appear in The Journal’s front yard.

Honour our veterans by voting

If voting in our elections is the best way of peacefully defending democracy, why don't more of us do it?

It’s unfortunate that we don’t spend more time helping our local students explore democracy and the reasons why voting is so important to how we live.

Then, not only would we have young adults voting for their representatives on councils, school boards, regional districts, legislatures and parliaments, but we would have the older adults who’ve never figured out why they should get off their butts and spend 30 minutes to go cast a ballot.

In that way, we have failed to pass on that vital role that makes Canada what it is. We have told them to, but not explained why. We have not passed on the torch.

Interesting that Election Day (Nov. 15)falls shortly after Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) – or it is for now and has been for a while. Local Government Elections after this year will be moved to October.

But for now, we can draw a direct line between going to war against Germany and democracy.

This quote I found from Canadian veteran William F. Starr:

“Democracy was threatened in 1939, and there was no question the threat had to be stopped. Any veteran would agree. Since that time, it seems democracy is threatened from time to time, from a variety of sources. These sources are more subtle – an enemy is not clearly defined as it was during the war. The need to defend democracy is just as real now as it was then, perhaps more so. The question is how. As a veteran, I am not in favour of war as a solution. So, how to defend it? Voting may be the only peaceful option. It is disturbing to see voting so sadly neglected today.”

Let us reflect upon this next Tuesday as we gather around the Cenotaph – or wherever we are – to honour our veterans and renew our promise to keep democracy alive in Canada.

And let us consider how we can make our towns and cities better places to live by including those who don’t feel included: who feel that nothing will be changed by their vote.

Because all votes count, in ways you may not even realize. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best we have so far.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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