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The Evolutionary Case for Hillary
Four years ago, I launched "Integral Obama", pointing out "If there’s one thing that’s become painfully clear over the last 12 years, I think it’s this: it’s incredibly difficult to accomplish constructive change as a President, but it’s terribly easy to make disastrous mistakes."
This year you can join me and many other evolutionary leaders in declaring transpartisan support for Hillary Clinton here.
Clearly, integral evolutionaries aren't satisfied with the reductive "left-vs-right" of two party politics. And yet a dimension of practice is civic engagement. This is why I feel it’s important to voice my support for Hillary Clinton — loudly — something that has proven difficult for many.
Turning up the volume
Throughout this campaign, Trump supporters have felt free to be loud. Bernie supporters had no problem being loud.
Not so Hillary Clinton's supporters.
We are a silent majority, and diverse, operating from a spectrum of rationales for supporting her candidacy. Mine is an evolutionary case, and I’d like to put it forward here.
I view Hillary Clinton’s fundamental politics as a stand for the American family becoming stronger, together. Those closest to her say she is an amazing listener, willing to give thoughtful attention even to those who are her "enemies" when they make a positive case for something real.
Her inclusive, feminine approach presumes that everyone has a voice and offers one or another way for them to have input, or even a seat at the table. Her "realpolitik" has the masculine strength to participate in the tough business of politics and to be responsible for America's unique capacity to protect and preserve intelligent public discourse, scientific evidence, and democratic processes. This creates space for a conversation, a dialectic through which American culture can evolve.
Her willingness to engage in a give and take with the rich and powerful is not a sign of a “corrupted heart,” but a capacity any successful president will need. It is the reason she may be able to forge a different kind of policy success than Obama has been able to do.
Where others see “evil”, I see determination and realism, a professional but conventional engagement with the game of politics, all made less palatable by her understandable desire for a “zone of privacy” as well as a lack of political charm. But Hillary has a rich history as a committed idealistic social servant, going back to her undergraduate years, all of which speaks even more loudly through her flawed history. Some are turned off by her “squareness” as a member of a previous generation. But in my view, these are all secondary criticisms; I don’t think a perfect person can realistically rise to this level of power.
There’s much to respect and admire in this woman — the first woman ever to rise to contention for a position as the most powerful individual in the world. Could the feverish negative reaction she arouses really be cultural resistance to that epochal sea-change?
It’s clear that during her presidency, Hillary Clinton will treat her opposition far better than it treats her. She seems well suited, as a mediator to play the role of the mother of the country who looks out after everyone, and the health of the whole, even if it's like an unruly family with a surly faction of high school age saboteurs who hate mom's guts.
The Revolution will evolve
Because of Hillary’s ability to work within the established systems, Bernie's revolution has a path toward sustainable actualization in the context of her administration. Working together, once she's elected, good people can influence her administration's policies — because she’s shown that she can let herself be influenced in a healthy way. But it will require organizing and compromising. Wikileaks made it apparent that this will require building coalitions among constituencies ("we" not "I").
We need radical change now regarding climate policy. We can’t afford to act unwisely and allow ourselves to be swept into another great era of backlash and gridlock. That would be a huge disservice to the planet.
What we ought to be attempting is to forge the fastest and most radical change that is politically possible and sustainable. But that's a big constraint. Culture evolves slowly. This is what I think Clinton meant by saying "get a life" in response to the "keep it in the ground" movement. It's not politically realistic — Yet. But if we keep organizing and work to hold Hillary’s feet to the fire, we can make a difference, and keep gaining power and influence. And we will be able to begin keeping it in the ground much sooner.
The truth about your vote
Here's the truth: Either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be elected president this year. And if you vote for someone other than Hillary, or if you don't vote at all, then you are helping to elect her opponent. And just think about how you will feel if that happens. Imagine waking up on November the 9th and looking into the eyes of your daughter or son, or looking into your own eyes as you stare into the mirror. Imagine how you'll feel if you stayed home, or if you didn't do everything possible to elect Hillary.
By supporting Trump, a personification of the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth) GOP leaders and many candidates and even Trump voters have temporarily lost moral standing (even though many of the interests and concerns of Trump voters need to be addressed in a serious way).
Republican leaders and candidates accommodated a caricature epitome of the sinful and ugly American. They deserve to be defeated. It takes profound myopia to fail to notice this moral opportunity.
To my Republican friends, I say this: if your candidate is solidly defeated, please look deeply into your hearts and ask yourself if it isn’t your patriotic duty to give Hillary’s administration a chance, to see what's possible without gridlock. If good people stay politically involved across the spectrum and engage the new administration, in the spirit of the 7 virtues: prudence, justice, sobriety, courage, faith, hope, and love, we could see powerful, positive trans-partisan changes for our country in our lifetimes.
A landslide for Hillary, and even a Democratic majority in congress, would create the conditions for American culture to cohere healthy responses to our planetary crisis.
To my progressive and radical friends, I say this: Yes, Bernie was better in so many ways. But not in every way. Skepticism is appropriate toward Hillary, but not cynicism, which shapes what it sees. Some of you are tending to lose sight of that, and are even credulously hallucinating the conspiracy mind manufactured by the decades-old, right wing Clinton witch-hunt.
Realistic optimism is not naive; it is generative.
This statement is an affirmative framing of the fundamental strategy embraced by Bernie Sanders and Bill McKibben. Remember, progressive policy opportunities are narrow and fragile, and narcissistic capitalists are playing for keeps.
What actually happens matters. Under a Clinton administration, there’s room to make creative differences and have lasting impact.
To my integral evolutionary friends, I appreciate that we, necessarily, span a great spectrum of sympathies, and that not all of you will resonate with every aspect of this analysis. Some of you are more libertarian, and this post more squarely addresses the radical left. But you know you have political responsibilities, and an obligation to question your own thinking. Please consider the overriding necessity of political stability and a forum for intelligent policy-making. If you can’t resonate with what I’m offering here, at least you can recognize the danger of a sociopathic President Trump.
I’m enclosing a few links that go deeper into some of what I’ve voiced above.
I hope you’ll join me and vote wisely—and raise your voice for Hillary — loudly.
To our evolution,