The importance of Voting
A.J. Nino Amato
I will never forget in August of 1988 when hundreds of thousands of citizens took to the streets across the Baltic Nations of Latvia,
Estonia and Lithuania, calling for the right for free and open elections and to rid their country of Soviet Communist domination. I
remember it as if it was yesterday because I was in Vilnius Lithuania with CWAG founder Jim Sykes, witnessing history in the making.
What made that day special, was the young 87 year old, highly educated woman who survived the Nazi invasion and their death camps
and the labor camps and tyranny of the Soviet Union and turned to me and said:
"Nino . . . Lithuania will once again be free someday, with or without the help of the United States . . . and you Americans have taken
your freedoms for granted and we fear for the rest of the free world, you may wake up someday and find many of them gone."
I was surprised by her remarks and I immediately asked her why she felt that way. With a sad but stern voice she said:
". . . because of voter apathy in America and too many Americans take their right to vote for granted . . . so we fear Americans may wake
up someday and find themselves standing in the streets, like we are standing in the streets of Vilnius today, demonstrating to regain our
freedoms and our right to vote!"
So Let Your Voice Be Heard and Vote on June 5!
By A.J. Nino Amato, President, Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG)
WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION: I have always been puzzled and disappointed when I see low
turnouts in our local, state and national elections, compared to many other democratic counties
whose citizens have fought and died in order to gain the right to vote in free and open elections.
During my U.S. State Department approved delegation travels behind the "Iron Curtain" in what was
the old Soviet Union (1983, 1988, 1990, 1991), the ethnically diverse citizenry did not have free and
open elections in the U.S.S.R during the more than seven decades of Soviet control. The same was
true when I visited Cuba, as part of another U.S. State Department approved delegation in 1999 and
During these official trips, every private citizen young or old alike, whom I had an opportunity to talk
with, wanted to live long enough to see a democratic form of government take root and have the
right to vote in a free, open and competitive election. In every one of these private conversations,
people's eyes would light up, along with a smile on their face and say, "We too will someday have
many of the same freedoms as America, with a Constitution and a Bill of Rights and most of all, the
right to vote."