As the few people who read this thing I call a blog know, I go back and forth between wanting to vote for Obama and not voting at all. After watching a debate between him and Mrs. Clinton I was excited by him and – although not fooled into thinking he is the savior – thought I might throw my vote his way. This past week has made me think differently, and I will give a brief summary. On Wednesday of last week I picked up a former priest and current self-proclaimed Christian Anarchist from the airport so he could give a speech (along with a fired professor from the University of Colorado) for a few fellow students. I sat in the car with this man for an hour on the way home from the airport, had lunch with him, watched him speak, and then had dinner with him. He has been arrested over 20 times, parted ways with the Catholic church because of his refusal to assuage the leadership, spent a total of five years in jail, and has dedicated his life to living below the poverty line and nonviolently helping to change our entire structure. The next day I was interviewed for a documentary called Love Everybody and was made to talk about my dedication to a life of service, about this thing I have inside of me, forcing me to get an expensive college degree in the field of Peace Studies, knowing that I will never make my money back. It was the first time I ever really talked about it and it gave me a shot of energy that has not gone away yet. After that, I saw a spiritual man speak of revolutions within the self. On Friday I got up in front of a crowd and – for the first time in my life – delivered an impassioned speech about the hegemony of the United States; in doing the research I couldn’t help but focus on the 1,000,000 people who have been killed with our money, in our name, in only Iraq, only in the past five years. Saturday there was a rally and march which – although not at all inspiring – led to conversations with other people who found the fact that we were stopping at red lights and abiding by a permit, slightly counterproductive. Sunday was a day off, but yesterday I watched two documentaries; one which inspired me (and filled me with fear) greatly and another that again pointed out the reach and many armness of the US government. I sit here today and I realize that there is no point in voting for any of these three people who have been put before us, on varying degrees they all support the US empire; they all will continue to prop up puppet dictators throughout the world, they all will keep bases and soldiers throughout the middle east, and they will all add millions to the list of people who die at the hands of the US every single year. Many people teach me that I can only do what I can do; I can choose not to vote and instead work for the building of alternate structures within our existing government, but I cannot make others do the same. Despite this knowledge, it still frustrates me that people attend a march on the anniversary of the war or vote in an election every four years and consider their duty as USers done. They refuse to acknowledge that these are things that the government lets us do so we feel like we are participating in world affairs, so we won’t think about the fact that our weapons, paid for with our tax dollars, are being used by people trained in the US to kill innocent people who happen to get in the way of our government’s long term goals. Occasionally we will see a blurb in the newspaper about 50 people dying in a car bomb in Iraq or a bomb that was intended for a terrorist in Somalia accidentally (of course they never use that word) killing half a village, but that’s as far as it goes. There is never any outrage, never any demand that the people who orchestrate these attacks be held accountable. I have said it before and I’ll say it again; it is because we look at these people as less than human. Name ten of the million people who have died in Iraq over the last five years. Name ten of the million people who died due to US sanctions in Iraq before we invaded them. Name three monks who died in Burma last year without the US doing a thing about it. Name one person who lived in the village in Somalia that got bombed earlier this month. Most people will not be able to do this (myself included) because these people are not looked at as human. The day we wake up and put faces to explosions and then names and stories to those faces is the day that we take back our country and let the rest of the people take back theirs.