Apr 30, 2012

An Essay from HRM Jennifer on Voting and Society

One of the seemingly shocking things about the Edanian constitution is the lack of women's suffrage. King Richard is fond of noting that it was actually his Queen who initially insisted that women should not have the right to vote in Edan. This statement is often met with disbelief, but in this, my first essay as Queen, I am pleased to confirm King Richard's remarks.

As I address some of the reasons behind my exhortations and the decisions of our King as he developed the constitution, please remember that we are speaking only of Edan. I make no assertions or assumptions about women's suffrage in America or anywhere else in our current world. Many things unique to the culture we hope to build in Edan make the lack of women's voting sensible and just in our micronation, but we do not speak for situations and cultures outside of our own.

Let me make clear that in our micronation, the limits placed upon the Edanian vote in no way impede women's dignity, human rights, or freedoms. As Edanians, and Catholics, we believe in the inherent dignity of all human beings, male and female, from conception to natural death. But the modern assumption that being equal means being the same is a fallacy that we Edanians must recognize as the evil it is.

First of all, let us remember that Edan is a constitutional monarchy. We are governed by a King who is not elected, and our local rulers are appointed by our King, not by vote. We do have an elected Senate, but the duties of these elected officials are to guarantee that the common people will always have a voice, even in the event of a tyrant or a calcified aristocracy. In fact, much of the Edanian constitution is devoted to limiting the power of elected officials while maintaining some general public forum to protect our future from being diminished or destroyed by one mad or corrupt King. So we must remember in this discussion of suffrage that an Edanian vote is not central to our governance, unlike the modern capitalistic or socialist democracies we are accustomed to.

But history has shown us that in all democracies, eventually a vote becomes something that can be bought. Bought by wealth or bought by charisma or even bought by something more nefarious, it is still subject to coercion, whether conscious or not. When every citizen has the right to vote, suddenly an entire society and culture can be bought (and made bankrupt). Or, even more frighteningly, as we see in the bipartisan America, a vote becomes "us vs. them" and true debate and progress are stifled.  We believe that if we allow the voice of women in Edan to remain pure and unsullied by political infighting and the lures of coercion, Edan will have an unparalleled asset. Culturally, we will promote the ideal of a strong woman's voice, and women will be encouraged to enter into political debate and even run for office (note that in Edan, while women cannot vote, there is no restriction on women holding elected office). Knowing that we will have a chorus of individuals whose vote cannot be bought means that the ideas they put forth will have more merit, more weight, and will provide a needed balance to the necessary political wrangling that comes from the voting process.

In addition, we believe that it is important that the voting class knows that their vote isn't just a vote for themselves, but also a vote for their wives, daughters, mothers, and grandmothers. Even the seemingly-unfair limitation on single women will be balanced by the actions of responsible single men.  In this way, a vote will not be simply a one to one trade, my vote for whatever will be given to me. A vote will become more precious and more meaningful and more forward-thinking, rather than a selfish choice based upon immediate desires. Thus, the voter will be less susceptible to the political pressures and frustrations that unfortunately prevail in the world of universal suffrage.

But why is it that women do not have the right to vote, rather than men? Because it is natural that women be the voice of reason in society, as a women's inherent nature recognizes relationship more fully. Whether mothers in fact or not, a woman's physiology and psychology are ordered toward motherhood. This allows women to see differently than a man. As Blessed John Paul II said in MULIERIS DIGNITATEM, "Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman's womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and "understands" with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the "beginning", the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings - not only towards her own child, but every human being - which profoundly marks the woman's personality. It is commonly thought that women are more capable than men of paying attention to another person, and that motherhood develops this predisposition even more." By ensuring that the voices of women cannot be purchased or influenced by those seeking her vote, Edan will be blessed with a class of women who not only have the natural attendance to relationship that allows them to more clearly see the impact of society's choices, but also can speak freely about what they see as right and just because they are not susceptible to voting pressures. In contrast, the masculine hormones and physical strength indicate that men are physiologically and psychologically more suited to the direct wielding of authority and dealing with harsh politics. By working within our God-given natures, society will benefit from the best that men and women have to offer.

As I have shown, the thought behind the lack of women's suffrage in Edan is not one of restriction upon, or lack of respect for women. Quite the opposite, it is the elevation of the feminine voice to one that is truly meaningful, and can contribute to all of our society, rather than be reduced to simply another button to be pushed in the voting booth.  
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