I am writing today to share that I am voting in the upcoming US presidential election. I have intentionally not voted in over a decade and this decision does not come lightly to me. This decisfion is deeply thought out. I am voting to get Donald Trump and his administration out of office. Before deciding who I am in your mind, I encourage you to read why I’ve made this choice.
As many of you know over the last decade I have largely removed myself from much of our mainstream systems. I have committed for life to not pay Federal income taxes. I have divested from injustice. I have chosen a path of voluntary simplicity with no bank account, credit card, home or address. I have not voted in a US presidential election for quite some time and I have been very intentional about removing myself from injustices, many of which come from the US political system.
For the past few elections I did not vote because I could not endorse this political system or any political party. My lack of a vote was never about apathy or a lack of involvement. In fact, I would strongly make the point that I had done more research and critical thinking on our politicians and political system than a great deal of the American voters. My choice to not cast a vote has been based on a fundamental disagreement and very critical outlook of the political system.
I do not think this political system is a solution for true equity, justice or environmental sustainability.
I think the United States is one of the great unequalizers of humanity. We have just 5% of the world’s population but use 25% of the world’s resources. In many ways we are the definition of inequity and injustice, and our political system is at the center of this. Around the world we have pillaged, murdered under the name of “war” and stolen to create and uphold what we have today.
Within the nation, any idea that this system was ever about “liberty and justice for all” is a lie.
The land we sit on today was stolen from Native Americans, considered less than human, millions murdered and left dead in the wake of our injustice.
This country and system was built on the slavery of Africans and hundreds of years of brutality and oppression of Black Americans. No liberty, no justice for them.
The text in our founding documents, “All men are created equal”, was faulty from the start. It should read “All humans are created equal”. But women were not considered equal. White women didn’t have the basic right to vote until 1920, and Black women nearly five decades later. They still are not treated equally in this system.
The corporate money in politics and power of lobbyists have resulted in what can not be called a true democracy. A corporation’s lobbying budget is worth far more than your vote or mine. With gerrymandering, votes cast are wiped out by corrupt political strategy. The political system labels people “criminals” to rob them of their ability to vote. All votes indeed are not created equal.
Just like Republicans, Democrats play a large role in the militarization of police forces, mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, military industrial complex, corrupt money in politics, war, displacement of millions of people and mass environmental destruction. I believe Democrats will continue to play this role.
I truly do not think there is a deep enough understanding in our political system of environmental issues, nor a desire or willingness to act on the truth to do what is needed for true equity and justice, even from a majority of the most progressive in our Federal government.
The position of president should not even exist in my opinion. A true democracy would not put so much power into the hands of a single person, or even a small group of people. A president, no matter the party, should not hold so much power. A true democracy is run by the people. Our “democracy”, whether led by a democratic or republic party, is not truly run by the people.
I hope after reading the above that one could see how choosing to vote this year does not come lightly to me. Now, I’d like to explain my choice to do so. But first, I want to be clear that I am not endorsing Joe Biden. I am not endorsing the Democratic party. I am not endorsing the two party system. I am not endorsing the US political system. I am not endorsing much of what goes along with these systems.
My choice to vote this year is not about myself. It doesn’t have anything to do with my own personal job security, social security, or my family. My privilege and relatively comfortable position have allowed me to step outside the system, while others are voting for their lives and the lives of many close to them. Honestly, I’ve been burned out lately. I yearn to go live in a cabin in the woods for a few months and remove myself from society, especially during the elections. I know many of us are burned out right now, but now is a crucial time to stand up in whatever ways we can, whether by voting or other means.
My vote is a vote for millions of people who have been unnecessarily suffering at the hands of this cruel and corrupt administration. This vote is for the millions who are being discriminated against, hated and treated as second class citizens, both within US borders and beyond, at the hands of this administration.
I want to be very clear that I do not think that the Democratic party will fix all of this, or do all that is right, but I do think they can alleviate suffering and improve quality of life for millions. I do try to focus on the big picture of our global humanity, but the big picture can not blind us from the humanity of each individual. I believe voting in the Democratic party will improve the quality of life for millions of people and decrease unnecessary injustice and inequality. I don’t think the Democratic party will solve our environmental problems or really knows how to deal with our great environmental demise, but I do think that the path we are currently on with Trump is far more destructive and must be stopped.
Much can be accomplished by individual and community change, but I believe that we need both a top down and bottom up approach to be in effect at once to achieve our goals. I think getting Trump and his administration out is a necessary step for a chance at turning this society around. I agree with two people I admire greatly, Angela Davis and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that Biden and Harris are not the solution, but they are a crucial step in achieving the solution, given where we are today.
I am also voting to elect a Black female as vice president as a meaningful step to dismantle the white patriarchy. I see having a Black woman as vice president as extremely meaningful for progress for equity and injustice (even given Harris’s own involvement in injustice and inequity). I think putting women of color into power is absolutely key in taking down the white male patriarchy. I think it is of the utmost importance for Black, Indigenous and women of color to have an equal share of decision making and power if we have any shot of overcoming racism, sexism and all injustice and inequity. I also think millions of young Black girls will be able to see Kamala in this position and feel seen and feel more empowered to stand up and to progress our humanity.
I want to be clear that I do not think that voting is THE most important exercise we have as citizens. I believe voting should be utilized as one of many tools in the toolbox, and not considered enough action on its own. I respect others who choose to focus on using other tools and means where they can be most effective and to choose not to vote. I will always understand that for many people not voting is something much more meaningful and powerful than apathy. Choosing not to vote as a strategy and in alignment with other intentional actions, can be as powerful and meaningful or more than choosing to vote. And I will always respect choosing another party or candidate besides the mainstream parties and establishment candidates.
I am honestly afraid of encouraging others to get involved in the toxicity and lies of politics and mainstream media that goes along with it. I often see people get stuck in a cycle of despair and inaction when they are consistently informing themselves politically and thus with all the problems in the world. Sure, maybe they vote, but perhaps do very little else, feeling like the system is too big for them to change. Voting is not an excuse to forgo taking community action or to forgo being the change that we wish to see in the world. Voting is not an excuse to get lost in politics and forget about our own actions.
By choosing to vote and to enter this conversation I commit to bringing my level head and critical thinking in, not to get sucked into the toxicity. That will be a tricky balance that I have to play now for my own health, living out my ideals and steering people who respect me down the right path.
I am putting my own credibility on the line by choosing to vote for Biden and Harris and to encourage you to do so as well. I would understand people thinking that I am a sellout or that I have lost my way. I’m sure some will. Am I sticking to my ideals and beliefs?
Some would say no. But if you really knew my ideals, you’d know that I am sticking to them. My ideals are simply to do the best I can with the resources, skills, connections and privilege that I have available to me. My ideals are to chip away at injustice, inequity and destruction to the best of my ability and to help build the foundation for equity, justice and not just sustainability but regeneration and resilience. That means analyzing both individual scenarios and the big picture within a constantly changing scene.
That means my ideals are ever changing and shifting as both US society and global humanity does. We live in a period of rapidly changing humanity and thus I must be ready to shift my ideals as needed both within moments and in the long term. I will be here for the decades to come for justice and equity and regenerating our humanity and Earth.
I acknowledge that I might be making the wrong call by voting in this broken two party system and for a party that I do not truly support. I believe one of the greatest dangers in voting for Biden and Harris is that if they win, many people will feel as if it is time to take it easy. Millions will rightfully feel a huge sense of relief, as will I, but I fear many will fall back into a false sense of security, an illusion of justice and equality. I see Joe Biden as the status quo. This status quo that is the “American Dream” is also called the World’s Nightmare.
I am sharing all of this in part to explain my actions so that I am not misunderstood in my change of actions as well as to give the courtesy to those who follow me to not leave you guessing. I am also sharing this because as a leader, I have committed to acting transparently in all of my strategy for creating change. I am also writing to reach out to people who follow me, who respect me, who are in a similar place to me… and encourage them to vote as well. I would be lying if I was to say that I don’t care who you vote for and that I just want you to vote. I am writing today to encourage you to vote Trump and his administration out, which means voting Biden and Harris in.
Because I do not have an address or any documentation of living location, I am considered “homeless” by the US government and will be registering as a homeless individual in Wisconsin in order to be able to vote. I will also be volunteering to help others register and working at a polling station on election day. With so many elders choosing not to work at the polls this year to protect themselves against coronavirus, I encourage young, healthy people to work the polls and help others register to vote. You can sign up at powerthepolls.org and many positions are paid.