There’s an election happening in Ireland tomorrow, and it’s not like any election I ever saw back in Boston.
I’m not what you’d call a political person. I can’t remember if I registered to vote in Boston—I was usually working, and I didn’t read the papers or watch to television much, so mostly I didn’t know who was running for what. We had the same mayor for years, and that seemed to work fine.
I did see that people got really worked up about elections and candidates, and spent a lot of time arguing about them. When I worked in bars back then, that sometimes ended in fights. I guess I never really understood why they cared so much. And the election season went on and on, especially when it was a presidential election. Like, for months, or even more than a year.
It’s not like that in Ireland. There’s a President, who’s elected like every seven years. Then there’s the Taoiseach (sounds like “tea sock”), who’s like a prime minister who’s appointed by the president, after he’s been nominated by what’s called the Dail, which is the lower house of parliament, kind of like our House (the Seanad is the upper house, like our Senate). And that’s all I know, thanks to the guys at the pub who’ve been trying to explain it to me. They did say the Dail has to hold an election at least every five years, and they can do it more often than that if they want.
Anyway, the Taoiseach decided on February 3rd to hold an election, which meant the President had to officially dissolve the Dail, and then everybody started running around campaigning for the election planned for tomorrow. Which is three weeks from when it was announced. And whoever is elected, they’ll start work next month. That’s fast.
Wouldn’t it be great if all those elected officials in the US didn’t have to worry about getting re-elected all the time? Didn’t have to spend their time in office raising money for the next election? What a waste of time and money, that could be used for, oh, running the country?
I’m not going to vote here in Ireland, although I suppose I could since my gran made sure to register me as an Irish citizen when I was born, because my father was Irish. There’s a whole bunch of parties, and I don’t know what any of them stand for. I don’t know anything about any of the candidates, and I don’t feel right using my vote when I’m clueless. But I’ll listen to what the guys at Sullivan’s have to say.
One really kind of cool thing, though: a couple of years ago Ireland passed a “gender quota bill” that said that there had to be at least 30 percent women candidates. Don’t know how that’s working, but it’s a step in the right direction, if you ask me.