Friday, September 6, 2013

The privilege of democracy

Every two years I have the privilege of doing one of the things I appreciate the most with my country: I get to vote! I get to read through party statements and pamphlets, I get to visit the party websites where they present elaborate plans on what they want to do if voted in to government. I get to attend mass meetings if I want to, I can rally for one of the parties if I want to, I can even write angry letters in the newspaper about why I think the current government sucks and therefore everyone should vote for MY party (if I'd have my own party).
This would be my slogan. 
But here's the sad fact: Even though most countries in the world today are free or partly free (Freedom House and EIU have different ways of measuring it, but their conclusions are very similar), still 34% of the world's population do not have any democratic rights, and another 23% only have it to a certain degree.
File:Democracy Index 2012 green and red.svg
Very green is very free, very red is very unfree.
The map is made by Futuretrillionare based on the findings of EIU's Democracy Index survey for 2012.
I live in the country in the world with the highest democracy rating (again according to the Democracy Index by EIU). But me being a woman with the right to vote is also here a relatively recent thing. This year we celebrate 100 years of women's right to vote here in Norway. This  means that my great grandmother was born in a time when women were considered less worth than their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons!

This is not my great grandmother. This is Fredrikke Marie Qvam,
one of women we can thank for our right to vote here in Norway. 
I guess there are many reasons why election participation is declining, but I just can't wrap my head around why people choose to stay home instead of voting. Here is a list of some of the reasons why I vote:

  • Having the right to vote is a privilege. It is my duty to make use of that privilege. 
  • I like to complain. If I'm going to complain about my government the next 4 years, I have to participate in the election. If I don't participate in the election, I have no right to complain. I really like to complain. 
  • There are some things that are important to me. Voting is a way for me to show my government what those things are. 
  • Even though the world has never been as democratic as it is now in the 21st century, we are still facing challenges. The world was actually more democratic in 2006-2007 than it is now (look at the previous links I've posted), and that is something I find frightening. Voting is one of the ways I can show the importance of democracy. 
Elections in Norway are always held on a Monday in September. This year's election is this coming Monday. I'm looking forward to it. Happy voting! 


  1. I'm not super political, but I do vote.There are only a few issues I follow and really care about.

  2. Bra skrevet! jeg kjenner jeg blir irritert over at folk omtaler det som borgerplikt. Er det pliktarbeid å stemme ved valget? neida, det er privilegium!
    Fin blogg du har :)