This coming Tuesday, October 14, 2008 is Election Day in Canada. November 4th is Election Day in the United States. Are you going to vote? Don’t like the candidates? Neither do I. You’ll probably be busy that day. Carpools, groceries, work. Me, too. You don’t think you’ll have time to make it to the polls to vote?
Then you need to make time. Especially if you are a woman.
This is the reason why:
One hundred years ago in Canada and the United States women were not allowed to vote in federal elections.
"Placing women on ... political equality with men would cause domestic strife. ... The majority of women are emotional, and if given the franchise would be a menace rather than an aid," Manitoba Premier Sir Rodmond Roblin in 1914.
That was the overall thought of society, both men and women. And yet, women were expected to scrub clothes, clean the house, budget her household allowance, prepare and cook the food, wash dishes, and mind the children.
Fortunately, some women thought differently. Great Canadian women such as Dr. Emily Jennings Stowe, Nellie McClung and Thérèse Casgrain.
"But I do hope that it will in some measure open the eyes of humanity to the truth that the women who bear and train the nation's sons should have some voice in the political issues that may send those sons to die on the battlefields." Lucy Maude Montgomery, spoken to a reporter in 1915.
Great American women such as Lucy Burns, Doris Lewis, and Alice Paul.
There were countless others. They were our great-grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers. They were scorned, ridiculed, beaten and imprisoned for wanting the right to vote. They fought for themselves, their daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. They fought for you and me.
So, remind me again. Some women won’t vote this coming Tuesday in Canada. Why? Oh, that’s right, too busy. You’re vote doesn’t really matter. You don't like the candidates. It might be raining.
In the words of the great Canadian band Rush “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Freewill by Rush.
I will be at the polls this Tuesday. I will be exercising my right to vote. What will be your choice?