2 min

It’s not easy being green

Electoral paranoia and our many solitudes

If my years of voting have taught me anything, it’s this: the person I vote for always loses. Be it prom queen, MP, MLA, mayor, or empress, it’s always the same; I choose, they lose.

Take the provincial election earlier this year; I voted Green. It wasn’t easy voting Green. As is too often the case, I found myself torn between voting strategically and conscientiously. I didn’t just want a change in leadership, I wanted to wipe the slate clean and start over.

“I’m thinking about voting Green this year,” I would tell friends casually, like political parties were chicken or fish.

“Don’t throw your vote away!” they would warn, then convince me to take one for the team and vote NDP.

As gay people, we’re almost obligated to vote as a bloc. We have to protect our rights, our communities and our culture. We have to stick together or risk getting trampled. That’s all fine and dandy when someone is dangling the notwithstanding clause in your face, but it doesn’t get you very far when you have to choose from a selection of gay candidates.

I live in a fantasy world. In my world, the affluent and the marginalized dance around the same maypole, rainbows shooting out of their asses, to choreography by Twyla Tharpe. That’s kind of how I vote, which would explain why whoever I vote for usually loses.

As the election wore on, I started seeing more and more Green Party signs on balconies and lawns. I experienced an emotion I had not felt the entire campaign: hope.

Was I witnessing the tides of change or was this some sort of Liberal trick to keep me from voting NDP? It was bad enough I was undecided, but I had also become paranoid. Not just paranoid, but angry. Angry because I should not have to feel guilty for the way I vote. If the choice was so obvious, why was I struggling with it?

The morning of the election I was still torn. Until then, the longest my hand had hovered over a ballot was when I tried to predict who would win the Oscar, Marissa Tomei or Joan Plowright. “Don’t vote for who you want to win; vote for who’s supposed to win,” a friend advised.

So I chose Joan. Marissa won.

“What the hell,” I thought, voting for the Green Party. “It’s only one vote.”

After the results were in, I went through the seven stages of grief plus one: duped. Now I know how it feels to have voted for Nader in 2000.

That ballot haunts me like a bad perm. But that won’t change how I vote in the future, because as long as you vote, you can always hope.