Today, the candidate that I voted for will be sworn into office, the thought is almost surreal to me. The last vote I cast was for Francisco Manrique, in September of 1973. I spent little time deciding who to vote for, but my parents supported him much more vehemently. I was annoyed that I had to vote in the first place, it seemed like such a chore, and Peron’s victory was guaranteed anyways. Of course, it is easy to take Democracy for granted, without understanding what a truly fragile institution it is. This election it was impossible to take Democracy for granted. I voted against my parents, who backed the Justicialists, but I was happy to be able to disagree with them, and have a frank conversation. Our difference did not make me a communist, we were able to argue, but also empathize politically. I brought Valentin to the polls, to teach him to appreciate the ability to vote, not to see it as a chore like I once did.
Now, seeing Alfonsin sworn in, there is a national sigh of relief, but it is incomplete. It seemed so logical that the regime would be toppled after the Falklands, but now looking at the real prospect of long term Democracy, it seems unbelievable. How can the military be expected to give up power just like that? Alfonsin will work to protect Democracy from the military, to depoliticize the military, but the true supremacy of the citizen, I will have to see it to believe it. From now on, I will treasure my ability to vote, my ability to speak freely, my husband’s ability to be in a union, my son’s future in a Democracy. Appreciating and exploiting freedom allows us to protect it, never again can we be complacent about our rights.