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I didn't vote
I'm sure this is foolish, but in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I ought to divulge the fact that I didn't vote yesterday. I suspect I tipped my hand on my way of thinking about elections to some of you at some point before yesterday, but now that it's over, I thought I'd throw it out there again.

It was about 2 years ago that I made my first prediction about this election, maybe shortly after the mid-terms that the Dems seemed to concede. I had voted for Nader the last time and cast a blank ballot the time before that, but start to question the efficacy of those actions.

Anyway, I started to predict that Bush would either win outright, or he'd find a way to steal it, or he'd create some sort of crisis where he wouldn't have to leave power. Until about Monday of this week, it never really hit me precisly what I was saying. I then started to really feel strongly that I hoped that bloodshed wasn't the result.

Anyway, why didn't I vote? I had taken the position to cast blank ballots in the past to show my disapproval with both parties while still showing that I cared enough to show up.

Watching the primaries this year it started to become obvious to me that people like Sharpton and Kucinich were only in the race to trick progressives into thinking that the Democratic party was their party and that even by casting a blank ballot, I was lending moral authority to the eventual winner. This I could not do. The high turn-out this time gives Bush even more of a mandate to do whatever he wants.

I thought long and hard about what another Bush presidency would mean and then I thought a lot about Kerry and didn't see it being any better. I'd still have violence in my heart and I'd still have fear and anger in my daily life. My country (I have no trouble claiming the US as my own, it's the only country I've ever known as a home) would still be killing innocents in Iraq and elsewhere around the world (as we've always done). What difference will it make, really?

Yes, of course there's Roe v. Wade and there's the Alaska reserve and there's the gay marriage amendment and ... and ... and ... but the bottom line is I do not believe that true change takes place through the ballot box. I believe that true change comes when we make personal, individual choices about how to live our lives and we make daily actions in the direction of our own meaning in life.

Of course taking 15 minutes and going to the polls wouldn't preclude doing what I'm advocating (for myself) here, but not voting (and I feel totally coherent with myself and the result) was my own personal protest against the point of view that says we need to throw all of our time and energy and resources into elections to the expense of what we could be doing on a daily basis and in our relationships.

This post isn't meant as a criticism of anyone actions leading up to election day, nor meant to say that anyone "should" be doing anything. This is what's coherent for me and this is why I resent (see, there's another place I have personal work to do) those that became angry with me for my choice.

I heard from lots of colleagues and friends today about how disappointed, sad and shocked they were today. I chose to stay silent rather than share my calm with them. Perhaps even this post is too soon.

I write it now in the hope that we all can reassess what we're going to work on now. What steps can we take toward our own liberation from suffering and what impact will that have on those around us and on the world?