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Bryan O'DohertyBryan O'Doherty is an entrepreneur, writer/blogger, husband and father of three. He grew up in Portland Oregon (US) and graduated from Portland State University with degrees in Architecture and Japanese. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. You can read more from him on his blog at


Just Say No

An Integral Approach to the
2012 US Presidential Election

Bryan O'Doherty

Because make no mistake, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the result will not be and can never be Integral.

In November, the United States will again hold possibly one of the largest theatrical events the world has ever known. I can't think of any other single performance with so many actors on such a large stage in the history of mankind. The euphoria and/or fear this spectacle inspires every four years in the US and around the world is of a caliber that would make Joseph Goebbels beam with pride.

Increasingly every year I watch the integral movement in the hope that its members will see past this 1st tier political pageantry, and use the moral, philosophical, and meditative tools they should possess to see the truth. Having seen Terry Patten's website and many of the various and numerous comments, I can see that there is a small contingent of self-described "integrals" who seem to get it, but most (and frighteningly it seems those with most 'influence') are still trapped within a first tier political mindset.

So how should a person who has obtained a 2nd tier level of consciousness (i.e. has integrated all 1st tier levels and transcended them completely) view the current political process in the United States?

Note that I did not ask how they should vote. Casting a vote in the election is an action that communicates consent to the entire process. By voting you say, "I approve of the political process and condone all outcomes that result from it." That is why there is so much pressure from the current 1st tier political establishment to elicit voter participation—your participation is consent.

So before an integral thinker asks him or herself who to vote for, (s)he should first ask, "should I even be voting?" or more succinctly "do I approve of the political process itself and do I condone the past and likely future outcomes of that process."

Having honestly asked oneself that question, I simply cannot fathom a truly integral mind agreeing (through their vote) to participate in, support, or condone the violent, bloody, horror that is government. Because make no mistake, it doesn't matter who you vote for, the result will not be and can never be Integral. It will always be some mean variation/admixture of 1st tier ideologies. It will always result in strife between those on different levels of the spiral domestically, as well as continued suffering for those unfortunate enough to be labeled "enemy" of the US, not to mention the suffering of those US citizens sent to kill the "enemy" and their families.

Attempting to have your cake and eat it too, by voting in Obama, and then immediately protesting his every action is simply the height of hypocrisy. Allow me to create an analogy to illustrate why: You are brought into a room. Inside the room are an obviously poor and ill-fed family of strangers; a man, woman and two children. There are also two men in Armani suits, one with a blue necktie and one with a red necktie. Each of the well-dressed men holds a machine gun. You are asked to select which of the two well-dressed men will gun down the family. It doesn't matter who you chose, you know the end result will be the same even though each of the two men are telling you in flowery language why they are the better choice.

Now, do you make your selection and cast your vote? And after you've watched the family die do you then protest the killing, feeling good "that your voice has been heard?" Is your conscience now clean?

Or do you say, "NO!" that you will not be a part of this murderous process? That in fact, it would be better if you were lined up with that family than to select their murderer?

Put in those terms, it should be an easy answer for any rational person with any sense of empathy at all. But it takes an integral consciousness to make that leap from the reality to the analogy I just described. Because to the first tier ideologies, we're not talking about men, women, and children being gunned down, we're talking about "enemies," "terrorists," "insurgents," and all of the unfortunate "collateral damage," that goes along with keeping America secure.

Frankly, integral thinkers should be above all of this. Rather than backing Obama (for example) as the lesser of two evils, integral thinkers should be vociferously opposing evil! Rather than stretching to find some shred of evidence that one of the two highly groomed and selected puppets might be "becoming more integral" in his thinking, in the vain and misguided hope that such a candidate will mandate "integral" policies via presidential fiat, integral thinkers should be building communities (either physical or virtual) that exemplify integral principals. We should be showing by example, reaching out and helping others on their path up the spiral of conciousness.

This election and every election, I urge the Integral Community to voice their opposition to the whole 1st Tier political system. Abstain from voting. Just say "NO!"

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