A couple of years ago, I went on a tour to Egypt, where I spent a lot of time grilling our very patient guide about Egyptian life.
Talk inevitably turned to politics.
"Do you have elections?" I asked.
He looked at me as if to say, you poor, naive person.
He told me that after many years of rule under Mubarak, and under some pressure from the US, the Egyptians had what was supposed to be a free and fair election. Except that somehow in his area the papers were marked, so it was possible to trace votes to people. And he had friends who were arrested and detained for not voting the right way.
"So yes there are elections, but better not to vote", he said.
So while here in Australia plenty of people bemoan the debasement of the election process to a policy auction, today as we go to vote, we need to remember we are exercising a right that plenty of people in this world don't have, or have only gained through violence and bloodshed.
Exercising the privilege to vote is an action that moves me to tears.
On Election Day 2010, let's give a cheer for democracy.