I decided this morning that I won’t vote.
I decided to put my vote with the Anarchist non-party of the World.
I’m with the growing majority of Canadians who just don’t see how their vote will affect the “going to hell in a handbasket” path our leaders are on.
Their refusal to let Elizabeth May into the televised debate was the last straw.
I’m tired of the petty squabbling over the chance to serve the real leaders of our country - corporate interests. Jack Layton’s promise to limit credit card interest rates is like the student council president telling us he’ll stand up to the high school principal. Behind that high school CEO is a vast power structure. We all know who’s got the power.
I believe in democracy. I just don’t believe in parliamentary democracy.
Hasn’t it always been so?
Wasn’t parliament invented to try to get the best deal from the rich?
Isn’t that the job of politicians? To twist the arms of the rich and ruthless (that’s a redundancy I know – to be rich is to be ruthless) so that they are forced, shamed, coaxed into sharing.
How can politicians get them to do what their kindergarten teachers failed to do? Like petty thieves going to prison to learn how not to get caught next time, Country Clubs provide the rich a place to trade tax law loopholes. Taxes are mere nuisances in their quest for what is their due.
The rich necessarily have an attitude – I don’t know if you’ve noticed it – that they have a “right” to profit at other’s expense. How can investors in Canadian mining companies turn a blind eye to the theft and devastation of native lands? They must feel that they have a right to profit at whatever are deemed “acceptable costs”. How can theft be called “acceptable”? How can any level of cancer causing radiation be called “acceptable?
To vote is to participate in this process of negotiating with thieves and mad scientists.
Jesus said “unless you pick up your cross – you cannot follow me”.
He didn’t say “hold you nose and vote”.
The “cross” is an invitation to martyrdom. In the face of an empire that had corrupted the religious authorities of his country – the indigenous rulers who themselves had bought power with righteous violence – Jesus says “commit Hari Kari”.
His own death is a statement about power. He clearly says ‘You can take it all. Take my money, clothes, dignity - put my followers to the test at the point of a sword and watch them run – make me watch them turn against me - and then torture me til I’m dead. And then we will see. We will see what the worst of your power can do to the souls I have fed.”
When people have nothing to lose, they have everything to gain. When the rich and ruthless take it all away – all you have is your soul.
If I choose to follow Jesus, then I am choosing to follow a soul.
Not a politician. Not a preacher. Not a saint. Just a soul.
Now I can wait til I’m dead to follow him to some heavenly peace. Or I can wait to see if my accumulated sins will end up torturing me for all time. Or I can choose to lose my life and live as if I’m already dead – as if all I’ve got – really – no really – is a soul.
Soul gets expressed only moment by moment.
It gets tested in every moment and every decision.
I can’t expect the soul decisions I make today to last past sunset or moonrise.
Some rich and ruthless one will be sure to take whatever real thing my yesterday’s soul expression results in - and twist it into an opportunity for more power, prestige, money, or a means to those ends. Every artist knows this all too well.
Take a look at Jesus’ own soul expressions. His words and acts have been used and abused for all the right and wrong reasons for centuries. Misinterpreted, manipulated, manifested into great works of charity that provide safe havens for both sheep and wolf in the same pen.
Of all the print and commentary that has flowed thru my brain in these last weeks – all the news of war, man made environmental disaster, political hockey games, and failures of community to protect the weak – these words rung true.
In a conversation with a Kurdish friend, CPTer Carol Rose commented that sometimes nonviolence doesn’t yield the hoped-for-results right away. The friend replied “Yes, but sometimes you are happy in nonviolence because you are not losing your soul. You might lose hope, or get tired, but you are not losing your soul.”
from Signs of the Times
Christian Peacemmaker Teams
Oct – Dec 2010
For me, voting in this election would be a soul-deteriorating act. One more small compromise of what I know to be true. It would be one more step off the Jesus path – a distraction from the path of soul. Doing something that seems like a thumb in the dike when I need to be living as if the flood has already come and washed away all of my “acceptable” creature comforts. Comforts bought at the cost of the earth and the earth’s peoples.
Will I also ditch my car and walk that path?
One soul expression at a time.
Today my soul says “I will not vote”.
Anyone care to join me?