(I realize this comes late in the day, but I feel this deeply so thought it was worth posting.)
Every year on election day, but especially in Presidential election years, I'm reminded of my status as a second class resident of the US (and until last year, when my wife and I got our Green Cards, not even that).
I moved to the US in August 1996. But the end of that month, I had established residence (signed a sub-lease), obtained a Social Security Number, and had electricity service in my name. I should've been eligible to vote the very day I completed those things. I should've been able to vote for Bill Clinton in 1996.
Instead, here I am, in 2012, still an outsider, never having voted for John McCain (sorry Kossacks), or John Kerry, or Barack Obama, despite having at various times volunteered for, and/or argued with friends in favor of, each of them. Despite being more engaged in the American political process than most Americans. Despite having paid taxes in the US every single year since 1996.
I'm looking forward to 2016 when my wife and I will (allowing for bureaucratic delays at USCIS) finally be citizens of the US.
But more than that, I'm looking forward to the day - surely not far away - when voting restrictions on immigrants are seen as the relic of a xenophobic past in the same way as we now look upon Jim Crow laws or anti-women's suffrage laws.
I'm looking forward to the day - within my lifetime, I hope - when it is recognized that any and all immigration restrictions, anywhere in the world, are nothing but institutionalized xenophobia, whose time never should have been, but surely now has gone.
And I'm looking forward to the day - striving for it, even - when the mere accident of being born on the wrong side of an imaginary line in the sand is no more a hindrance than the color of one's skin.
And if any of you still think voting is a chore - vote, please, in my stead.