By Janey Whitney
As Americans, we don’t know how good we have it to live in the land of the free. Not all countries have simple freedoms and rights as we do in the United States, like choosing who we want to vote for, what political party we want to be a part of, or even choosing if we want to run for office. We don’t often think much about these protections in the United States or the lack thereof in socialist countries. In socialist countries, these simple rights see continuous pressure from those in power.
As citizens of the United States, we have the luxury of taking the time to look at the candidates running for office and make our own decision when going to the polls on election day. Not all countries have this same privilege. In Venezuela, bosses have put pressure on state workers and even insinuate threats of job dismissal to ensure a victory for President Maduro. This can sometimes go as far as threatening “to stop distributing subsidized food bags to those who did not vote.”1 These pressures obviously put fear on those state workers. What if you thought that voting one way could compromise you from being able to provide food for your family?
The government pressures do not just end here. The government in Venezuela has gone so far as to jail “political opponents and disqualified them from running for office.” 2 Not only are there pressures for the candidates, but the political parties in Venezuela face pressures as well. “During the 2018 presidential election, the government banned the largest opposition parties … and moved the election forward seven months to hamper challengers.”3 In the United States of America, political parties exist without fear of being banned. Because, again, this is the land of the free.
So in November, when you exercise your right to vote for the leader of this free nation, remember that in some countries citizens don’t have that same privilege. Think about how lucky you are to live in the land of the free, and to be able to vote freely, participate in the political party of your choosing, or even to run for office. Some citizens instead must face the pressures that come with a socialist nation.
LinkedIn: Janey Whitney
Janey Whitney is a 2019 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, Politics and Society. Janey has volunteered, interned, and worked in several different political settings: including law firms, think tanks, and political campaigns. She hopes to run for office one day, in hopes to combat socialist ideals and to fight to keep America the same great country we all love.