Opinion, by Melissa M. Souza
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – We are entering 4th of July week, and it’s a good time to both reflect and act on the meaning of that revolutionary date. As we look around at what’s happening in the world today — disparate events from the recent Supreme Court Ruling on Health Care Reform to the Arab Spring — we can find the common thread that weaves these actions together, and connect them to July 4th.
That date marked the first revolution in History to assure in the ideas of a people’s right to self-determination as expressed, ultimately, by the right to vote.
As Justice Roberts noted in guaranteeing the constitutionality of Health Care Reform, it is not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to protect people from the consequences of their decisions — that is, their vote for elected representatives committed to specific policies.
It was, ultimately, the vote that got us Health Care Reform. It is, ultimately, the vote for which people are dying and suffering daily throughout the Middle East.
Recently, Egyptians celebrated their first vote in decades for a democratically-elected President—a vote gained by a very intense, long and heroic struggle on the part of millions who went out into the streets and faced bullets, prison and torture.
And this is something all of us must bear in mind as we celebrate July 4th in this very exciting, crucial year of a U.S. Presidential election: voting is revolutionary. Every vote that is cast can be traced back to very daring individuals who refused to be ruled by autocrats and who sacrificed their lives in order to have the right to determine their own destinies.
In this spirit, Democrats Abroad Brazil and the Gringo Café are having a very exciting, fun event this coming Friday in celebration of July 4th. Together with cool red, white and blue drinks and a raffle with great prizes, we will be registering people to vote—everyone who is eligible.
This is the immediate mission of Democrats Abroad Brazil: find American citizens in Brazil who will be here in November, and register them to vote. We won’t take no for an answer. Every American who is pondering whether to vote or not — who is weary of participating in the political process — should remember the meaning of July 4th.
Voting is, essentially, the ultimate act of patriotism of any democratic society. And our motto, at Democrats Abroad Brazil, is that politics can be fun: a great way to meet and mingle with new people and become engaged in the political process.
So we are expecting you at Gringo Café this Friday — AND we are expecting you at the voting booth come November (remember, the MOVE act requires Americans abroad to RE-register every year of a Federal election. You’ll vote ONLY if you’ve registered this year, and from Brazil!)
This July 4th week, be revolutionary. Register, and vote!
Melissa M. Souza, Chair, Democrats Abroad Brazil