Three Times I Didn't Vote
Posted at November 10, 2016
Not necessarily times I could vote, mind.
In reverse chronological order:
I checked out the anti-Trump protest in Vancouver tonight. That was a crazy election, eh? I didn’t vote, because of course I can’t: I’m Canadian. American elections are strange to us, because we’re so closely connected as countries, yet we have absolutely no voice in their politics. I didn’t predict a Trump victory, but I had the same misgivings that I had over Brexit: It’s not a joke. This could really happen. A lot of people aren’t happy. It doesn’t matter if they’re lies if people believe them. And lo, Trump the narcissistic egomaniac did win the presidency.
Over a year ago now (when Trump was still a joke) was the Canadian federal election. It came at the tail end of my two years in Ireland. I didn’t vote for a couple reasons: one, I’d never bothered registering with the Canadian Embassy in Ireland, and I’d have to do that before I could get a ballot; two, the ballot would’ve been mailed to me, and at that point I was getting ready to give up my apartment (see: Eurotrip posts); and three, I had very mixed feelings about voting. The truth is, as much as I cared about the Canadian election, it felt strange to vote after so long away. And it felt wrong to vote in the riding for my official Canadian residence (AKA my parent’s house), a riding I’d never actually lived in*.
And lo did Justin Trudeau triumph over Stephen Harper, and (mostly) everyone rejoiced.
Actually, their riding includes the town where I finished high school. I only found that out tonight when I pulled up the election maps. At the time, however, I didn’t know I’d ever lived in the riding.
In 2015 I was in Ireland for the marriage equality referendum. As a resident but non-citizen, I was ineligible to vote. It was quite the experience, tho, from Panti Bliss’s speech at the Abbey Theatre after the Iona Institute sued RTÉ to seeing Paddies from across the world — because voting had to be done in person — converge on Ireland to make their voices heard. And love won.