Thursday, 9 May 2013

Power of Your Vote

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”   Abraham Lincoln

In this general election of May 2013, most of us have something or the other in mind in terms of issues, parties and candidates that is going to determine the next leader of this nation. Even after 65 years of independence, it has never happened that all the electorates have exercised their power of vote.

It is a grim reality and we need to ask as to why we do not exercise the biggest power vested in us by the constitution of Pakistan. There is no denying the fact that our country is facing a large number of problems ranging from corruption to terrorism to the economic crisis. By choosing not to vote, it is our fault that we bring into power an incompetent government and thus we are the ones who should be blamed for all the problems of the country.

“It is better to vote for what you want & not get it than to vote for what you don't want & get it.”     Eugene V. Debs

 Please don’t just sit in your house and complain about bad government, leaders or roads; poor electricity supply, health care, quality schools; the corrupt police, kidnapping, armed robbery and other worse things happening in our country.  If we want a better Pakistan, we must take action and join the efforts to make it happen. God will not come down to do it for us. He has blessed our country with rich human and natural resources; we cannot expect him to come and physically help us to manage those resources wisely. Heaven help those who help themselves.

A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
If we don’t take action, things will get worse. Corrupt rulers will continue to waste and steal our money, and make us suffer unnecessary hardships. Let’s not forget that it is our money that government is spending. The money that corrupt politicians are stealing belongs to every Pakistani. If we didn’t vote, then we don’t deserve to have any say about how our country is managed and how does it fares. Our Ignorance, Our Non-Participation, Our Misjudgment could even take the entire nation to the pits of darkness.

“What most people didn't realize in the Western countries is that here (in Pakistan) it’s not a question of having supporters, it’s a question of getting these votes to the polling stations.”  Imran Khan

We often make excuses about the lack of time to actually go to the polling booth and vote, but we have to decide whether that is really a constraint.

“Have you ever stopped to ponder the amount of blood spilt, the volume of tears shed, the degree of pain and anguish endured, the number of noble men and women lost in battle so that we as individuals might have a say in governing our country?  Honor the lives sacrificed for your freedoms: VOTE.”    Richelle E. Goodrich

Even if you are among the enlightened few who actually vote in every election, then too it is time to introspect. It is time to contemplate the real issues that will decide our mandate. You need to clearly demarcate the priorities for our nation. To help ensure that others understand how important their vote is, we need to take as many people as we can with us to the polls. Don't depend on a ride to get there, walk if you have to.

“You have to come out for yourselves on the 11th. Remember May 11. In the Quran, Allah says: 'I never change the fate of a nation unless they themselves strive to change their fate.' You have to come out to change your fate.” Imran Khan

Voting is force. It is violence unleashed, power wielded. It can mean the difference between justice and injustice, between prosperity for some over others. Every individual has power, and that power is magnified when many come together. Like a thousand gusts of wind forming a tornado, or a thousand drops of rain forming a storm, unified power of individuals becomes group force that is unstoppable. That is the beautiful violence of action wielded the violence that creates peace because it raises no guns but raises a voice.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams

It is time to cleanse politics of all nonsensical elements.  So come out and vote. Vote for the right reason, for the right person and for the right purpose. It is our power and our duty, so let’s not waste it.

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”                            John F. Kennedy

Pakistan is a democracy and we choose our leaders, so why not choose the best ones. For a better future, ask questions and demand answers. We have to decide where we want to see our country after five years and it is our responsibility that we vote judiciously.

“Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: VOTE.”  Rick Mercer

So I am going to do the unexpected, I am going to cast my vote in this General Election of May 2013. Are you?