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Why Vote?


First of all, I am not trying to come down hard on people who don’t vote, or forget, or just can’t be bothered. After all, last Thursday was the first day that I ever voted in my life (except for student council in Jr. High—how exciting). As a result of living abroad (as in separated in body from the country of my birth) for the past ten and a half years, I have never voted until this month at the ripe age of twenty-four. I suppose I could have voted by absentee ballot in the Canadian elections, but the truth is, I don’t know much about Canadian politics and I strongly dislike paperwork. So, that is why last Thursday found me voting for the first time in a country that has just recently become my home.
The UK just happened to be having their major elections that they do every four years and I just happened to get registered in time to vote. When the paper came in the mail announcing my eligibility, I “hoorayed!” and stuck it to the fridge with pride. And then I went to work to find out all I could about the different parties: Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservative Democrats, Scottish Socialist, Scottish National, Socialist Equality, Green, and on the list goes. I found out a lot more about some parties than others as different fliers were delivered through our mailbox (this is legal to do here) and other parties set up tables downtown to share their views. I paid 20 pence to buy a brochure telling about the Socialist Equality party and scoured news fliers. I grilled Neill, a friend of John’s who knows a lot about politics, about his views and why he thought the way he did. That was most helpful because though Neill, being a human being, has preferences and biases, the fliers that are handed out by the different parties are extremely one-sided. So I did my research, said some prayers, and betook myself and the girls to the Beechwood Community Centre to cast my ballot. Unfortunately, the party I voted for didn’t win. The Scottish National Party won by one seat. What’s the problem with the SNP, you may wonder? Well, my biggest gripe with them at this point in time is that they are separatists. I know all about that having come from a country where one of the provinces keeps attempting to leave the Dominion (Quebec, if anyone has no idea). The SNP can’t automatically cause Scotland to break free from the UK; a referendum is required. I remember the stress of that happening when I was a child at one point in Canada. Thankfully, the separatists didn’t win. I don’t even know if it’ll come to a referendum though because the SNP only won by one seat and will most likely need to form a coalition with another party to have enough seats to lead. It’s all very confusing, but I’m gradually learning more about it.
So when did Rachel Frances Clancy become so interested in politics? It’s a rather new occurrence, believe me. Why do I feel the urge to vote? Why cart my girls out of the house and walk to the community centre to cast one measly ballot? Does my one vote make a difference? Isn’t God ultimately sovereign to see that things are done His way? Why yes, He is sovereign. But He chooses to use me, to use us. And who is to say how important just one persons actions can be? Noah, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, Jesus, Hitler, Sir Winston Churchill, George Bush, you, me: we all have the ability to make a difference in the world, whether for good or for evil. Are we going to accept that privilege and responsibility?
Lately God has been convicting me in regards to things that are not exactly spiritual. I don’t know why, but He has really burdened my heart for the environment. Being just “one vote” is kind of parallel to making a difference environmentally. After all, I am just one person. Will I persist in what I’ve been called to do even though at times it feels like I should just give up because the fight has no end in sight? Yes I will. I have a strong conviction that I will end up making a difference. My efforts will not be for naught.
Different people have been called to fight different battles. Here in the UK we are celebrating 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade. A man called William Wilburforce was one of a group of men and women who helped bring this about–and it was a relentless battle. His health suffered, his social position suffered, but he persisted in his passionate conviction. We all have a battle. At times we feel alone in the fight, but truly there are many who share our battles with us.
So why did I vote? Because I believe that my one vote can help make a difference in the world.

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