The Duchess of Sussex has been active in the 2020 presidential election and asking Americans to get out and vote. This has caused some controversy in the UK as members of the Royal Family normally stay quiet in regards to politics.
As the lone American on Royal Central’s editorial staff, I have a different outlook on Meghan’s advocating for voting. I think the outlook on Meghan’s actions are divided along cultural lines; Americans see her actions as normal while the Brits don’t understand it.
Seeing the Duchess of Sussex asking her fellow Americans to cast their ballots in the election doesn’t bother me. She’s not telling anyone how to vote (I know some would say that her words have hinted at who to vote for but I won’t get into that). All Meghan is doing is asking people to fulfill their civic duty, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Voting is central to the American identity. Our country was founded on the entire idea that we get to vote for who leads us instead of relying on who is born first from one family. We didn’t want a monarchy; we fought a revolution to break away and remove ourselves from King George III. This is not a knock on the British system, which I respect greatly; I’m just explaining why voting is so important to Americans.
We very much believe that if you don’t vote, and are able, you have no right to complain about the results—the more people that get out and vote, the more voices that are heard. Voting is one of the United States’ most important rights that is not listed in our Bill of Rights. It’s been an uphill battle for so many here since our country was founded; black men didn’t get the right to vote until after the Civil War with the passing of the 15th Amendment.
Moreover, women didn’t get the right to vote here until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. It was a hard battle for women’s suffrage, and this year marks 100 years since we gained that right. Meghan is honouring those who came before us and fought so that we could have our voices heard like the men. She wants women to remember that we have not always had the ability to vote, and it is so important that we hold on to that right and be active in the elections.
Yes, Meghan married into the British Royal Family, but she is still an American. She was born and raised in the US, and she’s not going to lose her American identity. That needs to be respected.
And like Meghan, I’m asking Americans to take to the polls. I won’t tell you who to vote for as that is up to each individual, but it is vital that you cast your ballot.