I pay taxes, I recycle, I walk my neighbour's dogs when he's out of town, and I try to follow the US Department of Agricultures Guide to Daily Food Choices. But I won't be voting this year.
It's not because I don't want to. It's not an act of civil disobedience or even just plain laziness. It's because I can't. In fact, I haven't voted in ten years.
I'm not a citizen of the United States. If we were having a conversation, you would have figured it out by now. Especially after that last "o-u-t."
I don't have the right to vote. But I wish I did. With all that's a stake this year, I wish I were marching down to my local voting station to leave my mark.
Not that I would be all that qualified given my sketchy understanding of how the government works (or doesn't). I managed to sail through my academic career, from kindergarten through post secondary education (even the mythic, now defunct Ontario "Grade 13"), without any tutelage in American History or the peculiarities of the electoral process. It never occurred to me back then, that I'd be here. But a series of seemingly unrelated and unusual circumstances led me south of the border.
I'm learning about politics in the US now, though. It's impossible not to, considering the barrage of advertisements, commentaries, diatribes, critiques, observations, rants, and/or criticisms on the various candidates which we've endured with increasing frequency over the last few months, weeks, days, hours and minutes.
I look forward to voting again one day. This year, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.
Until then I'll just take pride in confounding the grassroots foot soldiers who huddle around battered card tables on street corners every four years, entreating those who pass by to register to vote.
"I'm sorry," I'll say. "I'm an alien."