I’m sure someone in your life at some point has made the “V for Vendetta”/Guy Fawkes Day reference to the date today.
“Remember, remember! / The 5th of November, / The gunpowder treason and plot. / I know of no reason / Why the gunpowder treason / Should ever be forgot.”
There’s a few interpretations to be had with that poem. It refers to the plot by Guy Fawkes (and others) to blow up the Parliament building in England in 1605. English Catholics, struggling in a predominantly Protestant society that fined and punished Catholicism, were attempting to create change through domestic terrorism, change that ultimately failed and ended with eight conspirators, Fawkes included, executed.
One could take it to be a reminder that we as a nation must be eternally vigilant, for treason comes from within. Always look for treachery, never forget what nearly happened that day. I, however, take a different approach, one that I feel the character V took. We should never forget men who attempt to enact change. We should never forget the power of the people. Granted, domestic terrorism and mass murder aren’t good solutions, but when in the face of abuse and tyranny by government, remember that government can be overthrown.
In America, we have similar sentiments. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government […] But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Maybe not as catchy, but it’s a similar sentiment. Granted, it’s no 36 kegs of gunpowder under a government building, but it is one of the most powerfully written letters of intent in the history of the world. You may have heard of it, particularly if you’re an American. We call it the Declaration of Independence.
Every four years, Americans have the opportunity to decide who they want to be governed by. Are there flaws in the system? Tons. The voting process has seen tons of roadblocks and restrictions thrown up over the past four years, and especially the last one, the electoral college is an antiquated bunch of hokum, voting on Tuesdays is rather unnecessary, the two party system just screams of corruption and “vote for who you hate least, not who you want to govern you most” mentalities… the list goes on.
But it’s our system. And it’s important to participate in it. The next president affects your life in many ways. The next state Chief Justice affects your life. The next mayor of your town affects your life. Government affects you, and voting day is your chance to affect it.
It’d be great if people were going to the polls fully informed, fully aware of their candidate’s stances and the likely results of those stances, yadda yadda. I think you all can probably guess who I’m voting for if you’ve read any other political post I’ve written. Even though my vote doesn’t mean anything in Alabama, as a non-Romney vote doesn’t get counted in the long run. Thanks, Electoral College.
But even if you’re not in one of those eight or so states that’s not massively entrenched in a political side, voting is still important. This government is founded on its people, and this is our chance to make our voices heard.
So, tomorrow, please. Go out and vote.