A VETERAN'S VOICE
by Wolf William Solkin
"VETERANS' VOTES ARE VITAL"
It has indeed been the iconic Biblical "Threescore years and ten" since our generation of WW II Veterans finally forced the foes of our freedoms , the Nazis and the Fascists, to abandon their destructive and dastardly efforts to rule over us by dictatorship defeating democracy.
At that time we were all so truly proud and happy that autocratic rule over most of the world was replaced by the democratic process, whereby we were primarily granted the ("God-given"?)) right to VOTE, to select and/or reject our nation's leaders.
There were, of course, many other precious rights and freedoms that we gained, but they could not have surfaced, let alone thrived, without our first having the cornerstone upon which they could be built...free and fair elections, whereby we could express our desires and demands for our preferred way of life by (s)electing those legislators whom we felt would best represent our best interests.
However, and sad to say, as the years came and went, so too did our enthusiasm and interest for engaging ourselves and concerning ourselves with governing ourselves, wane and decrease to the point of diminishing (electoral) returns.
To quote from a recent article written by Pete McMartin of the 'Vancouver Sun', ..."In all,the adjusted turnout for the 2011 federal election was 58.5 per cent, second lowest in the country's history...The largest voter turnouts came in the decades after the Second World War.. Perhaps the visceral connection between sacrifice and the democratic process was more evident to voters...(and Veterans)...then, because it was literally paid for in blood...".
Right on ! There is no question that many of us, have slowed down, drowsed off and grown fat...OK, no need to be ashamed of our weight. But there is a great need to be deeply ashamed of not carrying our weight, when it comes down to our real responsibility to act as responsible citizens, in determining the continuing way of life for that very same country of ours for which we few fought so fiercely to keep our freedoms flourishing. "Our" war of yore may be long over, but there are still battles to be fought for our country within our country.....not with bullets, but with ballots !
Both as Veterans and as part of the total Canadian citizenry, we are faced with myriad problems which affect us today, and will affect our children and grandchildren tomorrow and the day(s) .following. Not only what will become of my vanishing vintage of Vets, but also, and equally if not more important, the current and future treatment of our "younger" brothers -in-arms, who fought just as hard and bled just as much, trying to keep the peace in perilous places like Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda,Haiti, the Middle East and many others, plus "the pick of the litter" being Afghanistan. Enough said !!
And that is by no means all that should concern us as Veterans. What about such things as the economy , higher taxes, cost of living increases, unemployment and so on down the very long line of important matters affecting not only you, but your family, your neighbours, your community and, for that matter, your/our whole darn country ? Or do you just not care anymore, and have become indifferent to what's happening in and to the world outside your own little comfort zone ?
"So what?", you say....I'll tell you " what" ! We Canadians have a national election coming up this 19th of October, and while I will never presume to tell anyone whom to vote for, I do dare to demand that we all get off our bony butts to participate in our cherished democratic process. Help to elect the representative(s) whom, after due diligence, you decide will best act on your/our personal and collective behalf, as Veterans of all ages and all military operations. Check him/her out very carefully, satisfy yourself that your choice will not just talk the talk, but actually walk the walk, and is prepared to do so in your old service boots !
Your duty as a Canadian /Veteran is far from over. You fought for and preserved a democratic way of life; now is the time for you to benefit from your victory by voting for those candidates who will most truly and consistently recognize, respect and reinforce the rights of all true Veterans all across Canada.
Voting is not simply a right or a privilege. I look upon voting as an obligation that we Veterans should/must fulfil at all costs, and I sometimes even consider the possible advantages of enforceable mandatory voting laws, such as now exist in some forward-looking countries. Whatever your view, let your views be known to the people who are even now submitting their resumes and applying to you and me for the pretty cushy yet highly critical job of performing as OUR public servants and doing OUR bidding for the forthcoming years.
So do yourself, your family, your friends and your fellow-Vets a forever favour, by going out to VOTE, and getting out the VOTE !!!!
And always remember to....
...LEAVE NO VET BEHIND !
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.