why i’m not voting in november

“The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”

when i heard lines such as these (courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all ) during the brief portion of obama’s acceptance speech i listened to last night (chiefs football was on simultaneously), i remember thinking to myself, ‘well, fuck, obama’s integral.’ he certainly seemed to have a lot of support from my fellow attendees at the integral theory conference earlier this month. and while i see definite flashes of integralism in his talk, for some reason, i just can’t get on board. maybe it’s simply because i don’t trust obama, i feel as though he’s hiding something, or that he is in fact making himself out to be a savior by promising this and that, and i’m a firm believer that, as individuals, we can only save ourselves. we can’t look to someone from the outside to do it for us, whether that person be a jewish carpenter who supposedly lived 2000 years ago, or world citizen barack obama in 21st century america. if we do that (which i believe most people have already done), we’re only giving our power away, but i digress…

this morning i had a somewhat enlightening conversation with a friend about last night’s speech. she is so fired up by it that she’s thinking of volunteering here locally for obama’s campaign, and i’m happy that she feels passionate enough about it to take time out of her busy schedule. she mentioned to me that she overheard a conversation here in which one coworker was telling another that he wasn’t going to vote at all this fall, that he is just going to sit it out. surprisingly to her, i replied, ‘so am i.’ i think she was genuinely shocked first of all that, as a person of color, i am not an obama supporter, and secondly, that i’m just not voting. she went on to tell me that people died for my right to vote, which is of course true, but i can’t believe those people would want me to vote for someone i can’t believe in, which is true out of all possible choices this season. (i usually vote libertarian, and i can’t even see myself doing that this year.) and it’s not like i’m not voting out of apathy. i truly do care about what’s going on around me, but voting for someone just because they are on the ballot to me is doing nothing but perpetuating the problem. so, i do what i can in my sphere of influence, which ultimately i hope will provide more positive change than teaching people to depend on the government. i did tell her that i was considering writing-in a candidate, which she discouraged, saying that i was taking away from legitimate candidates, which doesn’t even make sense to me.

at any rate, the main reason i’m not voting this fall, in addition to not really feeling any of the candidates, is simply something i’ve said before: i don’t think it will make a difference. no matter who wins, mccain or obama, any ‘change’ is either going to be surface or token, or *if* significant change does take place, i think it will only speed up our country’s escalation downward.

yes, i realize that it is quite significant that obama is the first african-american presidential candidate for a major political party and i’m very pleased about that, and the fact that it occured in my lifetime. this country has come a long way (and still has a ways to go, which i think can only be dealt with by a change in consciousness, which is happening). still, a few months back i said to a friend that obama probably will be the first black american president, but he will probably also be the last for a long time. i think his policies will be quite detrimental to this country, and americans, with their inability to look past the surface on so many things, will look back and blame the black man for what he did to this country, even though his skin color will actually have nothing to do with it. i hope he enjoys his day in the sun.

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