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Four years ago, I wrote "Why I Will Not Vote In 2004" for which a number of readers thanked me profusely while another segment of readers sent scathing emails questioning how I could be so cynical and unpatriotic.

My intent in writing that article was not cynicism but honest questioning and exposure of what the voting process in this nation has become in recent years. It was authentic and sprang from genuine issues I had at the time regarding the wisdom of voting in a federal election. Since then, my skepticism of the integrity of the electronic voting machine process has deepened exponentially. And since then, Bev Harris of Black Box Voting produced an HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy" which exposes the jaw-dropping abuses of the electronic voting system and calls into question the veracity of any outcomes produced by it.

In fact, as recently as the New Hampshire primary, 2008, Black Box Voting and others have illumined spurious results in electronic voting in that state. Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis painstakingly researched the 2004 election and concluded in 2005 that, "The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage." In 2007, Wasserman shared his irrefutable confirmation of a stolen 2004 election in an exclusive interview on Democracy Now.

As I've frequently stated, I will never again vote in an election where I cannot use a paper ballot. For me to do otherwise, I believe, is to engage in a shell game of smoke and mirrors to which I will not sacrifice the preciousness of my right to vote in a so-called democratic republic.

As for my 2004 article, the world is remarkably different than it was then, and so am I. A larger, bleaker picture has emerged since then-one which for me calls into question the very process of selecting and electing candidates in the context of empire-in a culture of fascism, genocide, greed, corruption, and ecoside. It is that larger scenario that this article addresses.

For me, the first issue is the political system itself which is indistinguishable from the corporatocracy. The Democratic and Republican parties are de facto extensions of corporate America. Unless a candidate is systemically embedded in the corporatocracy, not only for the purpose of raising money, but in order to insure electability, she/he cannot succeed. Candidates from the Green Party or others such as Kucinich and Paul, are unequivocally consigned to the periphery, and while they may add fascinating nuances from the media-image perspective, they have exactly a snowball's chance in hell of prevailing. And while I could cast my vote for one of the peripheral candidates as a moral statement, it would be meaningless in terms of affecting change. In summary, if my vote won't make a difference, I'm not willing to cast it.

Mass Trance-It

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Now let's examine more closely the notion of affecting change, and let's be painfully honest about whether the current political system in America is even remotely capable of it. If only candidates embedded in the corporatocracy have any chance of winning, what is the purpose of voting? Choosing the "lesser evil" you say? Holding one's nose and voting? Those very expressions belie the political, moral, philosophical, and cultural sewer into which the nation has deteriorated. They also belie the magnitude of the situation, the surface of which could not even be scratched by the most uncorrupted candidate, let alone a corporate clone. You really must have a great deal of blind faith and uncritical thinking when playing in this system; in fact, you must be swimming in raging rivers of denial in order to even engage with it.

But that should not surprise any of us. We live in an extraordinarily adolescent culture. The election charade that occurs every four years has been constructed by an emotionally pubescent media, creating and gratifying a puerile citizenry, which like the sixteen year-old male drooling over the prospect of owning a Hummer, cares about absolutely nothing but image. The level on which problems are even perceived, let alone addressed, is not even adolescent, it's downright infantile. An essential aspect of childhood is fantasy, and the infantile/adolescent fantasy of America is that a corporate clone, obligated to his/her ruling elite handlers and contributors, willing to say or do anything to get elected, needing to address only a narrow spectrum of issues in order to prevail, is capable of meaningfully confronting issues such as climate change, energy depletion, population overshoot, species extinction, and global economic cataclysm.

And who benefits from an infantilized citizenry? Quite simply, the street smart adolescent gang leaders with names like Bernanke, Paulson, Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan Chase. Even now, as adult economists are willing to admit the reality of global financial collapse, the home boys, Ben and Hank, are telling us there will be no recession in 2008, no doubt hoping that their prey will spend their forthcoming rebate checks (translation: hush money) on more stuff instead of paying off their debts.

If I sound incensed, it's because I am. America's political candidates are colluding in the mass delusion-the collective trance in which a willfully ignorant citizenry is somnambulating on the edge of a precipice, and the ones who have the backing of the corporatocracy are enabling the chimera. I'm insulted by their cluelessness about the state of this planet and their inability to analyze or address any issues from the reality of ecoside-that is, the collective murder of the earth by its human inhabitants. And dear readers, please do not fill my inbox with emails telling me that ecoside isn't really happening because climate change is a hoax not caused by humans but perpetrated by nasty tyrants in order to take away my freedom. For me, this issue is not up for debate or discussion because the earth, not you or I or any other mortals, will have the last word, and it is having it even as you read these words.

What more proof does one need as a result of the performance of both political parties in the past 16 years that there is only one of them? Progressives love to rant about the "Bush crime family" yet appear unable to comprehend that the American political system is exactly as I named it in my 2006 article "Godfather Government." Mike Ruppert said it best in "America From Freedom To Fascism" when he stated that the choice is between the Genoveses and the Gambinos with both crime families feigning vast differences between them but unequivocally joining forces the moment anything appears to threaten their collective racket.

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What I would ask every reader of this article to consider is: If you are planning to vote in the 2008 presidential election, what is your need to engage with that system? How is it that you believe you have a valid, authentic choice between two divergent political and philosophical positions? What keeps you tethered to the charade? It's not important that I know your answer, but very important that you do.

Local Solutions: If It Isn't Local, It Isn't A Solution

An essential ingredient of the collective trance is that we must act nationally to address problems that candidates aren't even talking about. In true adolescent fashion, like pubescent males who live for bigger engines, bigger rock concerts, and bigger genitalia, we still believe that issues must be addressed by a change in mass consciousness and federal programs that allow the system to continue functioning as an empire-this based on ignorance or denial that the empire is collapsing and that a Second Great Depression is about to engulf the United States and the world. Conversely, a mature, awake adult is more likely to comprehend that the imperial miscreant is crumbling into myriad pieces and that this is not something to be mourned but celebrated-that our work now as grown-ups is to take the crumbled fragment that is our local community, hold it close to our breasts, caress and cherish it, and remake it for the wellbeing of ourselves, our families, and our bioregion. In this way, we assist ourselves and our loved ones in preparing for the collapse of the larger system and in the process, make it possible to create seed communities that can truly bring forth an authentic antidote to empire.

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Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is author of U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You. Her forthcoming book is SACRED DEMISE: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse. She also (more...)

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After your 3,800 words of rant, the poor old clich... by Jim Stinson on Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 10:08:56 PM
Even though I'm more disappointed than ever in... by SpiritBlooms on Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 12:48:38 PM
There is no power at all in not voting. All you do... by Watching on Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 2:53:20 PM
Why not just move to Saudi Arabia then?... by Maxwell on Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 3:14:17 PM
Oooo I think I've just deja vued to the 60s--y... by Carolyn Baker on Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 3:23:38 PM
Not love it or leave it; love it and restore it, m... by Jim Stinson on Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 1:32:06 PM
I won't be voting in the 2008 elections either... by Kitty Antonik Wakfer on Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 11:13:17 PM