An American in Ireland by The Yank
Irish citizens voting in American elections? Better if Irish Times focused on disenfranchised Irish emigrants
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 at 02:16 PM
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|Over 40,000 Irish citizens emigrated last year.|
The Irish Times editorial is completely unsurprising. I doubt there's a newspaper in Europe endorsing Romney. Still, there was one line in the editorial that really got to me: "The truth is, however, that in this shrinking, interconnected global village, the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will affect our lives more directly than most of our own politicians – if we don’t have a vote, perhaps we should."
It's an absurd view, but one that will be expressed many times today throughout Ireland, Britain, probably all over Europe. Everyone seems to feel that America exerts such influence over their lives that they should have a say in who runs the country.
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It's silly, but it's kind of grating too. Why America? What about Britain? Britain exerts more influence in Ireland than does America. Why doesn't the Irish Times suggest that Irish people (not talking about Northern Ireland, of course) should have a say in who runs the United Kingdom?
Or what about Germany? The German government has more influence over the lives of the people of Ireland than does the American government. Angela Merkel is a much bigger presence in our lives in this little Eurozone nation than is Barack Obama.
That's all by the by to be honest, but I am interested in the Irish Times's suggestion that non-citizens should have a vote in a country's election. What's interesting about it is that Ireland is a nation that has no problem disenfranchising a bloc of Irish citizens - emigrants.
Ireland has a lot of emigrants. There may be all sorts of reasons why Irish citizens choose to leave Ireland, but it's not a coincidence that the largest emigrant groups are those who leave during economic downturns. Many of those harbor dreams of returning to live in Ireland someday. They would like to have a say in how the country is run, maybe help lay the groundwork for their return by voting for candidates who support policies that make their return more likely.
They're not allowed to be involved in Irish politics, however. Instead, for Ireland's emigrants it's a case of 'of out of sight, out of mind.' "You left so you have no say in how the country's governed. Get over it."
I don't recall the Irish Times demanding that this denial of the rights of Irish citizens to a say in how their own country is run be corrected.
This is a legitimate issue for the Irish Times to editorialize on - disenfranchised Irish people. They should get off their hobby-horse about America's election and actually urge a meaningful change in the Irish system, one that will actually reinstate the legitimate rights of some Irish citizens.
The Irish Times needs to get real, stop fantasizing about Irish people voting in America's elections and campaign to change this real denial of Irish voting rights.