“If you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s on Canadian military bases, then maybe joined up yourself or became a military spouse, I know a few things about you…[ One thing I know]…you’re very patriotic.” This quote from the introduction to the book Camp Follower One Army Brat’s Story by Michele Sabad was never more true for this army brat than on days like today in Canada – Election Day.
No matter where or when I lived as a child, my parents always voted. As soon as I was old enough, I always voted, too. I understood it was a duty as a citizen of a free society, that to choose not to vote was disrespectful to those throughout history who built and protected the freedoms we now enjoy. Is our country perfect? No. Will it ever be perfect? No. Do we still fight, for equality, respect, more freedoms to live and love and exist as we choose? Yes. Life is that old trope : the journey. (Because we all end up at the same destination, after all.) It’s popular now to admit that you don’t or won’t vote – I myself don’t agree with that position, but I understand it. Canada is so free and safe that we are allowed our opinions, even those that I do not agree with.
Some also will admonish my own patriotism, my “nationalism”, a word I grew up associating with pride in country, pride in our freedom of society. To me it is still not a dirty word, not wrong to enjoy my nation, my people, my free society. And to do my duties for it. Like voting.
Lest we slide away from our freedoms, not towards more : do your duties, today and always.