This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. What I did vote for is something I actually believe in.
I voted for real democracy.
There were several factors shaping my decision to take this political stand. One is that I have been closely watching the manipulation of public opinion and the activities of both political parties for a decade now. It has become thoroughly clear (as I wrote about here) that the election is a charade. It is a distraction from the real workings of power in this country.
Another factor is that I live in the state of Washington where, due to the electoral college system, my vote will not count in the presidential election anyway. The state is strongly Democrat and will give all its electoral votes to Hillary whether I vote for her or not.
Perhaps most importantly, I am holding onto a sense of deep time and the significance of this period in history. I know that humanity is already pushing planetary boundaries beyond what is needed to support a globalized economic system. There is a deep and subtle form of denial in participating with systems-of-old that perpetuate the dynamic outcomes of excess in the current system. We are on the verge of collapse now and it is time to take stands for the future we actually want.
When I look back on this time in history, I will not be thinking about celebrity personalities (was it Trump or Hillary?) but rather about structural systems and their pattern-level dynamics. Continuing to give credibility to a plutocracy that calls itself a democracy is to be out of touch with the reality of this situation.
Also, I choose to role-model what it feels like to step outside the dominant frames of this discourse. I am facing the discomfort of separation from accepted social norms to show others that they too can reject the norms of their society when they feel them to be pathological. Now is a time for waking up — a real form of political revolution — and this means becoming actively resistant to the habitual modes of thinking and action that have been cultivated in the political landscape of the United States.
That is how the elites have controlled us. We conform to the habits of others who also don’t take a stand for systemic change. As a result, nothing changes.
But what IS real democracy? And why is it worth voting for instead of the celebrity candidates in a broken political system? There are several definitions we could use… I particularly like the pragmatic outcome version — that a democracy is a society where policy outcomes align with the will of the people.
There are many ways to set up governance that achieve this (parliamentary, multi-party as one example) but right now it is clear that most policy outcomes in the United States align with plutocracy rather than democracy. According to the research done a few years back, nearly all of the legislation passed by Congress in the last several decades is opposed to public will and serves a financial elite.
I am fully awake to just how broken our political system is. And I can’t in good conscience “throw away” my vote by giving it to Hillary Clinton (she’ll get all the electoral college votes from Washington state anyway). I also didn’t want to merely react in fear of #Trump just because the corporate media has been so dazzled by the profits they earn by covering him in what passes for news today.
As I felt into myself with this conundrum, it occurred to me that I could choose to vote for something I really believe in instead. And that’s exactly what I did.
The only way I could act morally and with good conscience was to (a) vote in all local elections on my ballot; while (b) staking out the conceptual landscape of what I am acting for in this election. I want real democracy. And if I can’t have it by voting for elites who placed themselves on top in a rigged system, then I’ll do it by creating a meme — an idea that can spread from person to person as a vote of “no confidence” in a morally bankrupt political system.
This is how I showed up as a citizen today. May it stimulate much-needed debate and discussion among my fellow citizens. We don’t have to accept a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy). We can create democracy right here at home. May the conversations that matter begin now…
Onward, fellow humans.