Genealogy History Latest News Lifestyle Vicky's Musings

Now is not the time to take our rights and our democracy for granted

Kate Sheppard would be turning in her grave if she’d been listening to some of the chatter I’ve heard recently. And so would Lucy, (from The Art of Secrets series) the fervent young suffragist who, alongside thousands of other women, fought for their right to vote – and succeeded – in 1893: one hundred and thirty years ago on 19 September. Long before any other nation.

It would seem that the gloomy, grey, wet weather that has dogged us for so long (in Auckland at least) is having a negative effect. I hear how dispirited people are, how disgruntled they are with things going on around them, and how disillusioned they feel. I can understand that – sunshine lifts the spirits and makes us feel more positive and alive. It’s clearly time for a good dose of it, and soon.

What concerns me is the disillusionment. I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve heard a version of statements like: “I don’t know who to vote for this election. They are all as bad as one another. I don’t think I’ll bother.”

That last phrase – I don’t think I’ll bother – is what concerns me most. To me, that is taking our rights and our democracy for granted and is a slap in the face to our forebears who fought so hard for those rights.

One thing is for certain, if we don’t exercise our rights, then we have no right to complain – about anything – including when some of our rights are whittled away with a tweak to this policy or that, or a radical new idea sneaks in when no one is looking (see what happened in the USA with Roe v. Wade that no woman voted for).

Or here, in New Zealand, in the 1980s when ‘free market forces’ became the catch phrase and ‘Rogernomics’ was introduced, creating an ever widening gap between rich and poor that is part and parcel of today’s ongoing economic reality.

So, to women from every walk of life, I say to you… whatever your viewpoint, whatever your circumstances, whatever your disappointments, honour the women of past and vote in this year’s election. Tell your friends, make a party of it as the women of the past did, but whatever else you do – please vote. It’s your right.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    I'd be delighted to hear from you