Thursday, October 15, 2020

This one was for Nigel

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I just dropped off my ballot for the US Federal elections. It cost me NZ$50 to send by international courier because I can’t trust the US Postal Service to be able to deliver it, and it was important to me that I fulfilled a personal mission: When Nigel knew his cancer was terminal, he said to me, “I just hope I live long enough to see that bastard voted out of the White House.” He didn’t, of course, so I made it my personal mission to vote this year despite all the obstacles, to do my small bit to get the result we both wanted. As I completed the transaction, I thought to myself, “this one’s for you, Nigel.” That would’ve put a big grin on his face. Mine, too, actually.

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Today I sent my US General Election ballot by International Courier. As I said in the caption to my Instagram post today (above, or follow the link), it was a bit of a personal mission: This one was for Nigel.

I vote in general elections every two years, and it’s a duty I always take very seriously. This year I haven’t been in to it, mainly because of losing Nigel, but he’s also the reason I wanted to be sure to vote.

Nigel didn’t make me promise much before he died, but one thing I promised myself was that I’d vote in honour of him. In a sense, it doesn’t matter whether I voted or not: Illinois is solidly Blue and Joe Biden will win it handily. And, as we all know, the popular vote nationwide doesn’t determine who is elected president. However, in 2016 the current occupant of the White House lost the nationwide popular vote by just under 3 million votes, and what if this year it was 13 million? If the nationwide popular vote for Biden is big enough, it will make an Electoral College victory more likely. It would also be very satisfying to see the Republican candidate hit with a large and humiliating rejection by voters, and it’s in that sense my vote actually does matter.

I marked my ballot using the same pen I used to vote in the New Zealand General Election. Also, just as I wore a red shirt to vote in the NZ election (red is the colour of the New Zealand Labour Party), today I wore a blue shirt (blue, of course, being associated with the USA’s Democratic Party). On both days I wore Nigel’s bracelet to bring him with me. It was the first time I voted in a US election “with” him (in previous years, he was at work).

My vote won’t actually matter in the big picture, but it was important to me, and has been all along because I needed to reject the current regime in the only way open to me. But my main motivation was that I promised myself I’d go out of my way, if necessary, to do it for Nigel (and spending $50 to send my ballot qualifies as going out of my way, in my opinion). That’s another promise to Nigel kept, the only one I made to myself on his behalf.

Obviously I have no idea what will happen next month (or beyond…), but I at least know that I did my part to make Nigel’s desire to see “that bastard voted out of the White House” come true, even though he didn’t live to see it. And that’s why this one was for Nigel.

The important part at left, the whole thing at right.

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