The Integral Case for President Obama

An Open Letter

Dear friends,

The purpose of this website is to offer integral evolutionaries an opportunity to support the re-election of President Obama by speaking with a single voice. Why Obama, again? And why should we, as “integral evolutionaries,” pool our support?

I recognize that much has changed—and much has not changed—in the past 4 years. While I think it’s safe to say that a majority of people with integral and evolutionary values eagerly supported then-Senator Obama in 2008, many of us have mixed feelings in 2012. There are some who see Obama favoring government-based solutions too strongly over market-based approaches, especially during this time of our ballooning national debt.  Others worry about Obama’s record on civil liberties, the war in Afghanistan, the economy, or his accommodation of corporate and Wall Street interests. Others simply see a leader who has not been as bold, inspiring or effective as he promised he would be.

At the same time, I believe a large majority of us still basically like the man, agree with many of his cultural values (for example, on gay marriage, women’s health, and the environment), appreciate his efforts and accomplishments in an incredibly hostile political environment (passing healthcare reform, ending the war in Iraq), and believe that he is still the best hope we have for more integral policies and politics. Moreover, we look at the alternative—which is not just the elusive candidate, Mitt Romney, but a Republican party that has become increasingly dogmatic, oppositional, and rigid—and we realize that Obama is still the far better choice.

I know there are those of you whole will feel that the current administration is guilty of the same “politics as usual” as the Republicans and that perhaps your donation would be better put toward Libertarian, Green, trans-partisan, or non-partisan efforts. I sympathize with this perspective, but at the same time I can’t help but consider the lesson of the 2000 race, when many well-meaning, intelligent folks abandoned Al Gore in favor of Ralph Nader, effectively handing the presidency to George W. Bush. 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.

Obama has proven himself to be a pragmatic modernist centrist, someone we can count on to lean toward constructive change, even if not galvanizing progress at the pace we would have hoped. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has gone from expressing liberal centrist positions to extremist ones—perhaps to appeal to his party, but creating a political indebtedness that seems likely to constrain his ability to enact policies that are even mildly socially progressive, much less integral and evolutionary. I will be very concerned if we find ourselves with Republicans in control of the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court.

As unsatisfied as many of us are with the two-party system, it does no good to ignore it. Though some might want to equate the two parties, there are clear differences. Consider a thought experiment. You’ve written a white paper describing an integral approach to education reform or healthcare policy or market-based environmental sustainability. You will present this paper to the platform committees and large donors of both parties. Which do you think will be more receptive, at this point in time? I believe we are much more likely to get integral ideas included in a Democratic party platform than in a Republican platform, which has now been ideologically purged and purified. It makes no sense to empower a Republican party that is temporarily incapable of hearing and including truly integral ideas, and which may not even be capable of constructive negotiations and compromise. The Democratic party is at least conceivably capable of becoming more integral, even if it is not there yet. And, remember, we slide into cynicism at our peril. As the French proverb puts it, “Those who do not do politics will be done in by politics.”

Which brings me to the question of why we should pool our support. Like many of us, I feel entirely dissatisfied and frustrated with the level of America’s political dialog. But citizenship is a dimension of our being-in-the world, and thus a necessary arena for practice. Practice is not to detach ourselves; it’s to engage more deeply. I ask you to consider the very real possibility of meaningfully influencing Obama and the current administration over the course of the next term. I feel strongly that integral and evolutionary perspectives should be more influential and that there’s value in pooling our donations to start to build this influence. By speaking with one voice, these higher perspectives will have a better chance of getting serious attention. Even if we are not able to influence policy during the next four years, it will still be an opportunity to learn. And only by making an attempt can we expect to learn about how to become more effectively influential in the time ahead.

I am deeply concerned that the better part of a billion dollars, donated by a few extremely wealthy individuals through Super PACs, will be spent on negative ads against Obama in the swing states. If he’s not re-elected, I think it could be large step backwards for our country, for the world, and for our planetary environment. It will also be a lost opportunity for integral and evolutionary ideas. And it will be because we didn’t close the spending gap when we could.

Don’t forget that as Integralists and Evolutionaries we have extraordinary resources to call upon within our community to intelligently inject a healthy evolutionary perspective into the mainstream. Let’s see if we can get noticed by the campaign and then bend Obama’s ear. And since our perspectives are by nature trans-partisan, let’s bring forward constructive proposals regardless of the outcome. This is an opportunity to practice, to attempt to exert some meaningful influence to bring about “change we can believe in.”

So I encourage you to click the “Donate” button on this page to make your donations to help re-elect President Obama. In my opinion, it’s a very worthy cause.

I know there are some of you who’ll disagree with my political views, and I respect that. I hope there will be a similar effort on behalf of Mitt Romney, an “Integral Romney” fundraising and advocacy effort. May this be an invitation to us all to participate in the political process whole-heartedly in a way that is authentic.

Terry Patten

PS. (as of 8/29/2012) This web page has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest. Thank you to those of you who have offered constructive comments, words of support, encouragement and especially those of you who have donated (there are just shy of 150 of us, and counting). Thanks, also, to those of you who have expressed dismay over this initiative and disagreement with my support of Obama, raising some important, intelligent points. Our world is immensely complex and entangled, so politics is terribly messy (offering no pure or perfect options for engagement). So, for those of you who care, it seems important to explain the thinking behind this initiative, answering some of the points that have been made in a fuller and more nuanced way. If you’re interested to read more about the rationale behind, click here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Tumblr

82 thoughts on “The Integral Case for President Obama

  1. Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential candidate.
    Mr. Ryan is new to the national scene, with out-of-step
    views from a bygone era.

    He’s known as the author of the extreme GOP budget; one that many say hurts the middle class, turns Medicare into a voucher system and cuts Pell Grants for college students by 170 billion—and cut off a million students over the next decade.

    Even as it makes these dramatic cuts—it cuts taxes for the nation’s millionaires and billionaires.

    What perhaps is the most important for the American public to understand are Paul Ryan’s views towards women. Paul Ryan voted at least four times to defund Planned Parenthood and helped sponsor anti-abortion legislation that used the term “forcible rape.”

  2. I applaud Terry for his engagement. I think having Integral Theory introduced to political leaders and imbedded into public policy
    is a worthy effort. How to do so would seem to be a challenge. There is the example of ex-President Clinton, who has endorsed

    Ken Wilber’s work and who in fact seems to have imbedded a world-centric worldview and integral thinking into his work at the
    Clinton Global Initiative. See his recent Time magazine article, and other links.,9171,2125031,00.html

    In the Time magazine article and in CGI’s work, Clinton speaks of an interdependent world, and how “progress changes conciousness, and when you change people’s conciousness, then their awareness of what is possible changes as well – a virtuous cycle.” The key to his approach (a ‘3rd way, or communitarian approach) is to engage with all key points of view and to include (and transcend) all these points of view into solutions to problems. CGI has had numerous successes and he cites them in his Time magazine piece. These sectors are: Corporate/private sector; public sector/government; civil society/NGOs. His work and
    the quote above believes that this active engagement approach will move people upwards (progress is orange/green) in their conviousness evolvement. This is the work of integrally informed/aware/engaged people.

    The challenges of the US and world require this type of approach.

    I personally believe the most effective thing the Integral movement could do would be to continue to reach out to leaders – current and emerging, and enlighten them regarding integral solutions and to educate them on the ways ahead.

    I would think any way forward could include working with CGI and the next administration and congress to scale the approach CGI is using. Before I retired from IBM, I worked with a colleague that developed a patented consulting method called “Outcomes Based Delivery” that used an inclusive approach to engage with all points of view across the big three sectors and to come up with approaches for “Shared Public Outcomes.”

    Updating this method or others with an Integral Approach is what I-I/Integral movement should strive for. How to do it is the challenge that I think Terry suggests people approach with the call for Integral Policy Proposals.

  3. So many responses sound like whining.




    OBAMA 200 Accomplishments! With Citations

    The PCTC Blog
    A blog about politics that takes a common sense approach to the issues that matter most. If it seems a bit on the liberal side, it’s because the TRUTH has a liberal bias. If you want to win over the electorate, use it.

  4. I agree it’s time for engagement. (In fact, we’re a year too late.) However, in an integral spirit of learning from every level of the spiral, might I suggest we take a look at how the Republican right is spreading it’s influence.
    Yes, the billionaires are buying the national media exposure and will expect to write legislation in exchange. However, that’s not all that’s happening.
    Religious conservatives and the Tea Party have built power at the local level. Ron Paul is popular among young people, including returning Vets as an anti-war conservative. An integral approach will look at how to mobilize these anti-war conservatives.

    If I were to suggest a place to spend time and money in an effort to influence politics, it sure wouldn’t start with the corrupt, broken mess in Washington. It’s just not a good use of our limited funds and influence to go up against a group of corrupt billionaires (on both sides of the fence).
    Go beat the bush at your local level. Get your ten best friends and take over a precinct. The Ron Paul people took control of an entire suburban Milwaukee Republican precinct because nobody else showed up. They had the area’s representatives at the state convention.

    So I ask you, why doesn’t the Integral community show up at the local level? We could put our time and money into the Integral Cities movement. We could find or even create local (city and county first) candidates who could more easily influence at the local level. The toxic Right is doing this. As I move through more conservative communities, I hear again and again that the far Right Republicans don’t speak for them, just as most of us on this site would say that the Washington Democrats don’t speak for us. It’s as important to help healthy Blue find candidates that do speak for them as it is to push higher-level agendas.

    At this point, a vote for a third party at a national level has little impact. Independents are an expanding group and they simply have no place to go. At the local level, that’s not necessarily true. People are more likely to believe in an alternative if they can get personally involved with integral people on a local level.

    Yes, let’s get involved NOW. And, let’s discuss the best leverage points. That might not be money for Obama. It might be finding local people who could be a tipping point. Let’s get sophisticated here.

    Thanks for throwing out this challenge Terry.

  5. I like this: a place where like-minded people can gather to have a combined voice that may influence politics and create more chance for dialogue. Thanks Terry for doing this. I agree with Plato that if we do not become involved in politics as intelligent people, those with less intelligence will govern (most certainly paraphrased!).

    OPS_admin | Aug 17, 2011 | Comments 0

    Folks, it just keeps getting more insane.

    Michael Taylor was just appointed senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. This is the same man that was in charge of FDA policy when GMO’s were allowed into the US food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety. He “had been Monsanto’s attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA [and then] he became Monsanto’s Vice President and chief lobbyist. This month [he] became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar. This is no joke.”

    Here’s the full story:
    You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!

    The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar.

  7. While we are prattling on our cruise about ‘world-centric sustainability, community-building, alternative building materials, renewable energies, oil drilling & wildlife issues, healthcare, etc, there is a gigantic hole in the bottom of our ship and the vessel is compromised (i.e., it’s gonna sink). It feels nice to talk about the many ways government, through Obama, can address our many challenges. However, the US owes $16 Trillion dollars ($5 trillion if the past 4 years), and it’s not a part of any conversation in liberal circles.

    I read many comments of ‘courage” it took to initiate this site. Who among us has the courage to answer these questions:

    Is the National debt a problem?
    What will result if America ignores/doesn’t address the debt?
    What are some SPECIFIC strategies you would support to address the debt?

    The unfortunate and glib mantra I tend to hear regarding the debt is, “It’s a dilemma that greedy bankers and CEO’s should solve/pay for.”

    • My take:
      Greece and Spain are a likely model.
      Start by reviving the Simpson Bowles efforts with both sides agreeing to put everything on the table?

  8. I’m not sure where to post anymore – the comments on this issue have become fragmented into several sites now. However, I do want to post this comment made by Andrew Bard Schmookler over a decade ago in his article The Dance of Polarization. It also addresses the question of what is the difference between a centrist and an integralist.

    “The idea that “the truth lies between the extremes” would be the cliché it appears to be if it meant only the need for a mechanical compromise, a splitting of the difference. But the real truth lies not between but above the extremes. The great spiritual leaders of humankind — a Buddha or a Jesus or a Gandhi or a St. Francis or a Dalai Lama — are people who have integrated values that seem to be in tension into a form that is not just a compromise on a lowest common denominator. At their level of integration, one might be at once freer than the libertines and more disciplined than the straightlaced. One might be both a better warrior than the hawks and a better peacemaker than the doves.

    The best resolution of our culture war is not to be found through our present mode of conflict. Neither is it to be found in mere centrist political compromise. The real challenge is for both sides to work together toward an integration at that higher level where opposites no longer seem so irrevocably opposed, where the expressions of our liberty and the requirements of our civilized order achieve a fuller harmony.”

    I’d love to see us go back to our mission of finding that truth above the extremes. There are plenty of place to play politics but very few where we can act from higher principles.

  9. Guys (and why is this?):
    While I’ve enjoyed your intellectual discussion and frequent references to the colorful spirals, I haven’t read any PRACTICAL solutions. So let me propose something and ask you for feedback and suggestions: A large, well-known, non-partisan organization has accepted the challenge/task to bring the American people (of all colors of the spiral and political affiliations) together in small, local groups to discuss and determine the future of American Democracy and the values that are its foundation. Obviously these people have assumptions and knowledge based on their education, life experiences, and place on the spiral. Given all that, 1) What questions would you have them discuss? 2) What format and ground rules would format would you use? If you thing this would NOT work, tell me why – please.

  10. This is very fantastic Terry! I applaud your activism. As you said in the beginning I pretty much can not bear the cable news and mainstream media discourse on such important issues as they are discussing. Because of that I have pulled the plug on my TV, no more! I am much happier for it. It does not mean that I will not vote, and every chance I get I am urging my friends who are disgruntled the importance of our ever so incredible right to vote. How any people through the ages have died in battle for their right to be heard, to vote and have a say! We can not let our skepticism keep us from the polls. Thank you for doing this Terry. I am donating via this website. 🙂 You have made my day. Kathy

  11. Terry
    Any support for Obama amounts to being an accomplice in murder and other crimes. Your support and rationale for it is frightening and has completely turned me off to integral philosophy. I have been following your work, I knew you in Sanata Rosa when I was a student of Adi Da (still am) but now, you have zero credibility with me. He is a Manchurian candidate installed to subvert the Republic with the lie of 911, Patriot act, and the murder and indefinite detention of Americans. How anyone can still support him is a mystery to me. Good luck, you’re going to need it. He belongs in prison, not in office.
    Please see my Essay, The Greatest Weapon of the Oppressor is the Mind of the Oppressed, on my website.
    be well
    Robert Cinque

    • Thank You Robert,
      As an often time very bitter ExVietnam Marine and recovering Methodist I allowed myself to believe that I had found a home of fairly like minded individuals in the Integral Movement who saw through the puppet controlled Presidency and actually wanted to created something brand new.
      I am feeling totally betrayed and disillisioned and of course like you Terry has lost all credibility with me. I will probably still follow whats going on in the Integral Movement but certainly not with the Passion I felt before.
      Paraphising H L Mencken it would certainly seem that BooBus is alive and well in the Integral Movement

  12. I am not surprised, especially for folks out west (on the left coast) to not recognize that fiscal irresponsibility is a road to destruction. It may feel good but there is no doubt that the road forward if continued will result in more bankruptcies, increasing unemployment, and perhaps worse. The free lunch is coming to an end all around us and folks don’t seem to care . . . I guess its because they think all of that money is free or somehow not theirs. It is of course, simply the delay function which is significantly longer than the interim spending. Well, I am afraid since our Federal Government can’t print much more money without further (note the word further) lowering our fiscal rating AND of course state and local governments can’t print any money that the clock is ticking. Continue to feel good at your own risk. Such a shame. Who is John Galt? Socialism works very well (and feels good too!) until you run out of other peoples’ money (Margaret Thatcher). Hope I livelong enough to watch our demise just to be able to say I told you so . . . how’s that for enlightenment?

  13. Terry,
    All of us contributing our voices here, was called to do so– yours, at the top of the chain having created this endeavor, and bottom of higher chains, and so it goes.
    Thank you Terry, for yielding to a calling within yourself, as by so doing, you allow us to yield to the need to express our own calling, and to consider where on the political spectrum we stand, and why. This must be the highest responsibility of our evolutionary calling at this time, contemplating the matter of life and death, survival and quality of living, although not obviously or urgently so. This political campaign and election is but one opportunity to yield to that calling. Politics is truly fertile ground, directing our human evolution.
    We are all privileged to be here, on the planet, in this country, at this time, called upon to engage in this election, in political discourse with hearts and minds, for the good of country and self, by speaking our truth. This is beauty, no matter how ugly the discourse may be at times.
    Thank you Terry. I am moved by the good you do here, and similarly, by the good I see emanating from President Obama’s promise– to govern in service of an America that strives to actualize its noble ideals.
    When I vote for President Obama this November, I too will have acted on my noble ideals.
    I will begin to donate at this site when I can.

  14. I was amazed to find this website. I’ve been an integralist for years now, and I’m going to be eighty years old in a few weeks. Where did the time go? I voted for Nixon in ’68, fell off a horse two days later and broke my back, and that turned my life around! I have not voted for a Republican since.

    I’ve been alarmed at some of what has happened under Obama’s presidency–frightening inroads on civil rights, de-listing of wolves in Wyoming, allowing Shell oil to drill in the Arctic. I believe that the environment is more important than any other crisis in the world, and that was a word completely missing from Clinton’s and Obama’s convention speeches. To me that is a disgrace.

    If you believe that we, as a group, could positively influence the administration, I would love to sign on. Romney, Ryan, and others would certainly spell disaster for this country and the world as well. I wish my vote would mean something if I voted for the Green Party.

    So many systems in this country are broken–government certainly is one of them. I’m working with a group of people at the grass roots dedicated to sustainability, community-building, alternative building materials, renewable energies, etc.

    Thanks for all that you do.

    Rachel Oliver, Psychologist, retired

  15. Thank you Terry for your courage to start this movement. I’m from Canada, and we are seeing first hand what happens when the far right gets into power. From what I understand, and integral view is a world centric view. Of course the president must do what’s right for his country (nation-centric), but if that country is not doing what is right for the planet, the planet will reject it. So a balance must be struck between doing what is right for America AND the world. Obama has much more of a world centric view than Romney and the Republican party. This is why Obama is preferred in other countries around the world, and this is why most people with a world centric or integral view will support an Obama re-election.

  16. Romney’s pick for VP is even more telling than the GOP choice of Romney.

    It is possible to be a sincere Christian and embrace the philosophy of Ayn Rand; BUT it is not possible to be a MATURE Christian and a devotee of philosphical Objectivism. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is social Darwinism, which is the polar opposite to the Gospel ethic of kenotic love.

    It is quite likely that Catholic Ryan has never read any of the Papal Encyclicals expressing the Church’s social teaching, which is critical of tge extremes of both Capitalism and Socialism. If he has, he probably agrees with the late William F. Buckley, Jr. who said of the Church, “Mater, si; Magister, no. (Mother, yes; Teacher, no).

    Our President put forth the new consciousness which is community and citizenship and not just rights at the DNC convention. He had to speak the truth of response-ability to us. It is very important that we go forward with more focus in the twenty-first century.

    No, it is not always exciting. It is inspiring. Our chosen president has called us to a new path. It is often hard and essential that we participate. If we are not ready then all will be lost. He was given this task as a soul, one he accepted despite the challenges it presented. I think the guides (angels) are keeping tabs and asking things of President Obama that are very hard…and now of us. We need to be ready for the GOLDEN AGE we say we want.

    No one person can do it for us…this is not about having a savior…it is about standing in our own integrity at every moment, speaking truth, loving with an open heart, thinking with a willing mind and accepting inclusion of all races and colors and ethnic combinations. We must know and live in clarity– “walking our talk”.

    We will need to heed the message of the power-filled, Jesus the Christ when he sent his disciples out to preach with the admonishment, “be gentle as doves and wise as serpents”. He also told them to “shake off the dust from your feet and move on if you are not accepted”.

    The power must come from within and not be “over” anyone or anything. We must stand in it and be it, not dominate or intimidate and think we have power. This deepening of our power within will allow us to be in harmony with the needs of the earth and her changes, to acknowledge the wounds we have caused, to repair damage to our living planet and to find new ways to meet the needs of a global world.

    These new methods will not cause harm. They will demand respect and care for the “least among us”. From that place all people can begin to live the Beatitudes. All peoples can cry to their God,”ABBA, FATHER,” no matter the doctrine and find comfort in AMMA, the MOTHER, or NONI, THE GRANDMOTHER.

    The Ground of our Being and the Source of our Life and joy will be recognized. We will once again be a people of the Creator God, Mother/Father God shaped by love and enjoying its warm light.

    There is a Samurai saying—“You may only use the sword when you love enough.” I always used it in my counseling groups to decide what was permitted and what would wound too much. I truly think President Obama knows and understands this truth. He may make some errors and maybe not.

    I remember a story Ram Dass, my guru, if I have one, tells about the death of a Samurai warrior’s teacher. The student sets out to find and kill the murderer. After many years of tracking him, he finds him. BUT. He realizes he cannot kill the man. He says to him, “I have anger in my heart and I cannot kill you this way”. He leaves without killing the murderer of his beloved teacher.

    Ah, the discipline and the knowing of self involved in this experience…WOW!!!


  18. This is an interesting conversation, with some great points on both sides. Coming from Australia where we just ignore politics generally rather than engage it, felt that maybe an outsiders opinion might be relevant.I l also sat with myself for a balancing the thought that maybe i don’t have the right to even say anything at all not being directly affected by the policies of the U.S. I love watching the politics in your country and seeing how engaged and passionate you all are.

    I love the fact that Terry has the guts through “practice” to make a stand and get off the fence, Good on ya Mate. More power to you in your action.This to me is integral thinking and doing, enactment rather than chit chat.

    Personally i am for Obama ……by a long way, and thats because of his actions and often(sometimes flawed) attempt to create a third way towards – integration. To me he reflects the kind of consciousness that best reflects the Integral movement and Integral people.

  19. One side believes that war is the answer to everything and even as they campaign they are preparing to immediately start a war with Iran as soon as taking office. That’s reason enough to vote for President Obama.

  20. my opinion is that we should not confuse level of evolution and health of the spiral. Of course green is more advanced than blue, but what matters is the degree of health of both. Better is a healthy blue than a green ill. We need to appreciate not only the healthy progressive values ​​but also the healthy conservative values ​​and understand in the historical moment what is good for a country.

    • I fully agree to your argument of healthiness or illness; this is often neglected in integral discussions. Worst case is: Moral illness, esp. when cognitively far advanced. The Integral Movement should embrace all healthy parts of the spiral and help or fight those who are ill.
      But who indeed is more healthy in that respect:
      Matt Romney or Barak Obama?
      I personally believe firmly, that you should go and vote for Obama also and especially from that perspective.
      Not only for the USA, but for the world.

  21. After some thought, I decided to share Terry’s initiative through my email list and on my facebook fanpage. I became a US citizen last year and will vote for the first time. Standing for something and having a purpose, in my case promoting Evolutionary Integral Relationships, means that I resonate more with one party/candidate than another. In my case this is Obama, so it felt right to share this with the people who resonate with my vision of a peaceful sustainable future for all humanity, co-created by couples with equal rights and responsibilities in Integral Relationships. Thank you Terry!

  22. Thank you Terry for your courage and thoughtfulness with your updated site and your longer article you included as a link. And given that you’ve been criticized and disagreed with from a variety of angles, you’re getting a taste of what it’s like to engage in politics in a public way which I imagine will increase your respect for those who engage in the political arena, regardless of their views. Discussing politics, allowing for differing points of view and taking stands seems essential to an Integral community. I am very grateful for your Beyond Awakening interviews which I’ve been following now for years (did one of your recent classes which I’m also grateful for) and I admire your courage to enter into the political arena as well.


  24. Hi Terry,
    I applaud your initiative and taking a big step forward, and I support this en- devour.
    Personally I think it’s not about remaining bipartisan but taking action and being wiling to take sides and make judgement calls.
    This is a map of progress verses stasis I came up with lying in bed last night:
    When there is collective stress due to a challenges we need progress, evolution, and change to meet those challenges, that is simply how evolution works.
    When there is less collective stress (say 500 years ago) there was a need for stability, consolidation and force to maintain the bubble of status quo. harking back to a previous ‘better’ times, is a valid human desire for stability and harmony….and the more crazy everything seems those who are wired that way (towards stability) are acting more crazy in response, especially to those who will take up the banner of change, I think we should respect this primary desire but also stand firm and together in the desire to change.

  25. Rock on Terry! Thanks for showing integral leadership and the courage to stand up for what is right (and strength to withstand attacks from people that disagree with you). People can complain as they will about the many problematic aspects of Obama’s presidency, but jesus christ, can you imagine Mitt Romney and Paul “Rape is just another form of contraception” Ryan controlling the white house? In a complex and imperfect world, when we only have two choices, one must still stand up for what is “more right”… especially in times like this when the alternative is morally bankrupt and flat out dangerous as fuck.

    • >”Rape is just another form of contraception”<

      Your comment is quite inflammatory and inaccurate Brett. I invite you disagree without the polarizing invective. This is not a stance or quote from Paul Ryan.

  26. Thank you for doing this, Terry. I think the aphorism “don’t let the Perfect become the enemy of the Good” is important to consider during this election.

  27. Terry~
    Thank you for your courage in taking a public stand with your personal political preferences. Integral folks can agree, disagree, join in respectful debate, offer new options or ignore what you have expressed. You should not be prevented from exercising your first amendment rights because you facilitate personal growth and spiritual evolution for many people.

    Though I am deeply disappointed in this system and much of the President’s record, it seems unwise not to support the, in many ways, more nuanced human being in occupying that position for four more years.
    I see no contradiction in doing this at the same time we prepare ground for a new paradigm, sow new seeds for the future.

  28. Hi Terry, I will donate to Obama through your site. I actually live in a one-party state, where the republican primary decides who wins in local and state offices, but though my vote doesn’t count in this state, I decided to vote in Nov. because it could make a difference in what the popular vote ultimately says.

    Obama has a propensity to compromise and please. Today I read that he went ahead and approved drilling in the Arctic by Shell. Is that what his base wants? His environmental policies have not pleased me. He illegally delisted wolves, and has approved easier drilling that even Bush/Cheney.

    But the mood of much of the West, where I live, is towards state control of environmental decisions: decisions which could not only compromise our water and air and speed climate change, but also we could find ourselves without Wilderness areas, private control of National Parks and a selling off of vast tracts of National Forest Lands and BLM lands. That is where the Republicans and their rich corporate donors and fat cats are heading.

    Although Obama has not been tough, and probably will continue not to be, he still might hold back the dam for another 4 years and maybe some people who are sleep-walking will come to their senses. We can only hope. I fear most for the environment, the precious wildlife we are losing daily, and the large tracts of wilderness and the West’s untouched beautiful lands. There are still places where we can roam and go on a vision quest. This right might be taken away when we find these lands fenced with NO TRESPASSING signs. If you don’t think it’s happening already, then you’re wrong. I see it happening daily.

    Just the fact that there are individuals who have donated over 12 million dollars to Romney, just one couple!, kind of paints the dire picture. Thanks, Leslie

    • Hi Leslie,

      thank you for your brillant comment. Makes me just here in Germany hopeful, that integralist and evolutionary voters may open the public eyes in the U.S. for the dangerous way of Romney and consorts for environment and wildlife. Remember the position of President Bush junior (“Kill and grill”)…Please encourage Democrats all over U.S. doing more für nature conservation.

    • I, too, appreciate having this channel through which to make donations to the Obama campaign. It could help “weight” my voice more in the direction of my specific values and world view–more than just a generic supporter (who is also disappointed with some of what Obama is doing).

  29. For anyone wishing to support Obama (which I do not) in a positive and principled manner, I would recommend considering that you aim donations at efforts to prevent voter suppression.

  30. I’m surprised at you, Terry. Surprised that you didn’t do this SOONER! Bravo. Thank you for enacting Integral Leadership, and opening a channel for us Integralists to get involved in such an important election. Integral is about practice. As you stated, “Even if we are not able to influence policy during the next four years, it will still be an opportunity to learn.” So let’s all lighten up a little bit and enter this dojo with a beginner’s mind.

    From what I can gather of your strategy here, it seems quite brilliantly integral in that it asks, “How can we as Integralists influence politics in a way that moves consciousness, culture, and society forward?”

    In my view, you have to know how the political system works, and the Integral stage of development is characterized by systems thinking, and an orientation to how parts interact to create a greater whole. It also recognizes and processes many perspectives, while not necessarily treating them all equally. One way our political system works, like it or not, is that the most influence and attention is given to those who write the biggest checks. So, quite simply, one way for the Integral Movement to get a seat at the table is to collectively write a big check!

    So then, to whom do you write the check and who contributes? To those of us who would rather put energy and capital toward promoting other parties (like Libertarian, Green, etc) and alternative political approaches, I applaud your efforts. At the same time, like it or not, it has become a two party system and for THIS election, the president will be either a Republican or Democrat. Accept it and move on. Your vote is important, and yet your money is probably more important. Would anyone disagree that attack ads are barbaric and primitive? Probably not. Like it or not, attack ads will make a difference in swing states, which will influence the outcome of the election, so in THIS here two party political system, attack ads are worth your money. Terry is simply playing the hand that reality has given.

    It is critical, then, as you pointed out Terry, that the check be written to the party who is most open to being influenced by an Integral agenda. As you clearly stated, “Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has gone from expressing liberal centrist positions to extremist ones—perhaps to appeal to his party, but creating a political indebtedness that seems likely to constrain his ability to enact policies that are even mildly socially progressive, much less integral and evolutionary.”

    For those of you who are sour on Obama’s ‘hope and change’ promises, how has he really done so far? First of all, how much did you expect to happen in 3.5 yrs? I admit that in all my earnestness and fervor in 2008, I thought he would have turned America into a Utopian society by now. Yet considering, as Mary Linda pointed out above, all that Obama inherited from 8 years of Bush policies, I think he has done pretty well so far. Major healthcare reform, repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” appointing 2 pro-life Supreme Court justices (and first Latina), ending the war in Iraq, reducing defense spending, major clean energy investments. When was the last time you reviewed his full list of accomplishments? Try this, please forgive the crassness but this is the most comprehensive list I’ve found:

    One of the important aspects of the Integral stage is that it reaches back down the spiral to integrate healthy Orange, Red, Purple, etc. So let’s agree that Republicans have many good perspectives. Heck, even Paul Ryan, whose ultra-conservative views make Dick Cheney look like FDR, was making a fair statement when he said, “We need to have an adult conversation about entitlement spending.” And Mitt Romney has strong and healthy business skills and perspectives. At the same time, to carry out an Integrally informed, “Spiral Wizard” approach requires leverage in high places, and thus would require our senior political leaders to be open to new embracing new ways of being. To your point, Terry, Obama would be much more open to being influenced by an Integral worldview than his conservative Republican counterparts.

    I invite others to listen to Terry’s interview with Jim Turner titled, “The Natural Intelligence of the Body Politic”:

    Like Terry, I’m open to being wrong here, and I don’t claim to have it all figured out. I feel our task should be to think critically, ask good questions, be open to collaboration and opposing perspectives, and yet take massive action even if we haven’t yet sorted it all out. OK, I’ll step down from the soapbox now. Thanks again, Terry.

  31. Outside and beyond this election, no matter who is president, there needs to be tangible movement toward change at every level. When there is mention of passivity in regard to whether someone decides to donate money or otherwise participate in the current dysfunctional electoral system, remember that in an integral spirit, being causal is necessary in all 4 quadrants. In my opinion, most people are not practicing in their daily choices, from their inner work, to where they source their food, to their vocational purpose, to their family dynamics and beyond…. to foster systemic change that would co-create the dynamic and adaptable architecture of an integral evolution. A key meme that resonated with me the last presidential election was Obama asking the people to be involved in change within their families and communities, that he nor the government can be solely responsible. I wish he had continued to stress this throughout his presidency.

    For those who want to explore additional or alternative venues of participation, may I suggest looking into the Birth 2012 movement founded by Barbara Marx Hubbard and other visionaries interviewed on Beyond Awakening. It is specifically to organize vocational purpose and innovations in 12 sectors including governance, creating the living network of integral projects to replace and/or evolve the inadequate systems breaking down today.

  32. Hi Terry,

    Your courage, commitment to Integral principles…..truth, goodness and beauty…..helps me to remain courageous and steadfast to these principles too. In fact, it’s the collective community, I do believe, that continues to keep the light and fires burning for all of us trying to bridge this growing gap of polarized fear griping humanity in our world today.

    It is clear what you’re asking is not easy: to endorse a President many of us are disappointed with. But I’m reminded to take a few minutes to imagine what it must have been like to walk into that oval office and be given the Real Truths, most probably facing not only our country, but the entire global world. To be faced with a congress that does not support a more integrated way of solving our challenging problems. And, to take some kind of immediate action, at the time feeling backwards to most of us Integral thinkers, to try and bring a sense of stability to a sinking country. No….this was not easy ….but let’s also try and see, even with very little support, he held steady making quick decisions to problems generated years before he took office.

    I don’t want to go backwards; back to the same mindset and world view that created these out of control fires that he has spent his first four years just trying to put out….he has not had the time needed nor the support to implement a more integrated approach into all the polarized fear…..
    I have been donating as much as possible, my funds are limited, to get him re-elected and will donate here too…..not because he is a democrat, or black, but because I believe he represents a higher mindset, a different world view based on what I’ve seen him try to do against so much opposition in the congress, and his seemiingly ability to make distinctions from old views to new ones….because I believe he can take the best of both sides and integrate them into new policies for the greater good, truth and beauty….because I believe he can reconize the shadows and pathologies of both sides and exclude and transcend them…..

    Terry is correct, I believe, that this election is Very Important and why supporting President Obama for another term might make the Big difference in how, not only in our country, but also in our global world, humanity may not only survive our current crisis, but go on to thrive through an emerging new world view of unity and peaceful resolution.

  33. Thanks, Terry for following up on Lynn’s comments. And Lynn, I hear the disappointment in your voice and understand your discomfort regarding the idea of group think and at the same time, Gary, I agree with much of what you’re saying. This political system would be a joke if it wasn’t so rotten, but because of that I think, in looking at the few options open to us, I would rather stay optimistic and trust potential. Anything can happen Our futurist beliefs allow for the very real possibility of evolutionary emergence now. We all know intention and attention is powerful as are money and numbers and it seems the conditions in this moment are fluid. So I, personally, at least want to be counted as one who acted despite the gloom . Things are breaking apart to make room for the new and until we have better options it seems like a good thing to do what we can, whatever that might be.
    In this case what Romney/Ryan will do if they get in with their crew, promises to be deeply regressive, the farthest thing from integral. On the other hand who knows what the Divine has in store for us? Perhaps if they got in it would actually provoke R/Evolution having reached the tipping point, and a whole new system could be born into that space. But we can’t depend on that and revolution comes with a huge price. So it seems to me, that what Terry is offering is an opportunity for each of us to make a choice and for those of us who will donate anyway, who just cannot remain passive, to join together for the possibility of having a bit of influence and maybe even a bit of inspiration that may fall on a piece of fertile ground..

  34. This dialogue of an emerging. fresh, spiritual face can best move further through the arms of leadership. Political and human. I commend you Terry for your leadership here and for your expansive offer for the same support for all candidates, as it should be. May we each awaken in the highest good. Constance

  35. Thanks, Terry. I admire your work, and now I’m grateful for your courage in sticking your neck out.

    My experience with and understanding of integral is that “welcoming all perspectives” in attempting to be inclusive, comprehensive and balanced does not preclude taking stands (if it does, I’m out). All partial perspectives are not (created) equal.

    My bias has always been to vote on a candidate’s worldview than on any particular issue. Either Romney or Obama will be the next president. From everything I’ve heard coming from their respective mouths, Obama’s worldview takes in quite a bit more than Romney’s across a broad spectrum of issues.

    I agree with your reasoning. Any chance of refocusing some attention on your Beyond Awakening interview with Jim Turner? His is political insights are among the clearest I know.

  36. Thank you, Terry for this.

    In reading the posts, I sensed the anger and frustration towards the world we live in today.
    At the end of Kriste’s post, was this quote —

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete” – Buckminster Fuller

    And perhaps, this is where we start … and in building a new model, one of the ways is to take what is there and keep tweeking it until the old mode is obsolete. And the only way to do that is to participate, ie. show up and put your energy into it. I also see how totally broken it all is, but I have learned over the years, that I have to be part of the change if I want it to happen.
    After all, sitting back and complaining or even holding negative thoughts is only putting negative energy into the whole system.

    Perhaps my presence, being within the system, even just a little, could help with the change. And so, even though I am not in love with the dual political process, I am going to push myself out onto an evolutionary edge and do the experiment of bringing my positive, evolutionary being into the process, and physically show up to help with the campaign, knowing that one small drop in a pond sends ripples all the way cross to the shore.


  37. I have read your statement and the comments with great interest, and I am struck with the thought that there are actually at least ten political parties and perhaps more. The two primary parties are divided into right, left and center, and then there is the true center. The Independent Party has the freedom to walk all roads, which is probably why it’s growing. The other parties mirror one and only one concern, and I feel that election of any one of them would create a blind eye to all the other concerns to be dealt with. In top of all this, we are faced with the choice of being part of the world we live in, or of going the course alone which may or may not be possible. In times past, there was a homogeneity in most countries, but immigration has created a mixed bag just about everywhere, and with that comes an infinite number of opinions. All cannot be pleased as the number of choices is greatly outmatched by the number of opinions. As a result, no one politician can please all of the people all of the time. In an effort to please everyone, these politicians are whistling to the wind and the general public is forced to choose the least of all evils. If, indeed, such a thing exists. I will choose Obama, because I like him and think he has done as well as anyone could under the circumstances (please remember that it took FDR ten years and a world war to bring us back from the Great Depression), but also because the self-inflicted religious rigidity of the Republican Party goes against everything I know and feel. And that, in a very large nutshell, is my opinion.

  38. Thanks, Terry, This is so important because I think it’s not about politics but it is about our values and who is closer to them. I think Obama is an individual who is much more in line with our thinking than what he has been able to actually do in a broken system. I can’t imagine we will remain in this political stalemate for much longer because something’s going to give and when it does who do we want standing at the helm? Given the opportunity I trust Obama would support our integral ideas readily because he comes from the heart and we all know something new is emerging. So maybe this is a process that requires another four years to really manifest into a compassionate nation , The alternative with it’s regressive restrictions and limitations is deadly. So it’s not about political parties but it is about who best shares our values and is closest to our vision.But let’s not split the vote on principal or to make a statement. There’s just too much at stake. A collective donation from us may give the president the inspiration he needs to step up.

    • Bravo Francis. I totally agree with you. Its all about values.
      An integralist perspective is not about embracing all perspectives as equally acceptable.( Thats more postmodern than Integral surely) It is about understanding different perspectives and exercising discernment in choosing to uphold those that are closet to Goodness Truth and Beauty
      In this instant the choice is very clear and the importance of it at this time for the whole planet also very clear . I totally honour and love you Terry for what you are doing here. It is an inspiring example of what Andrew Harvey has called sacred activism – activism motivated from a pure heart.

      • An Integralist perspective might also try to winnow out the wisdom in each point of view and to incorporate that wisdom but also to clearly distinguish between that wisdom and the interests of those who live by claiming to represent it.
        For example, many man-in-the-street conservatives hold the wisdom of tradition, of various practices and aspects of culture having withstood the test of time. In a sense, this is the voice that is responsible for making sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. On the other hand, many of the top spokespeople for this point of view make a good living by encouraging anger and blindness. I want to integrate the wisdom but not those spokespeople.
        By the way, this is the opposite of one particular form of “bipartisan”, that of throwing out the principles of both sides and simply letting the spokespeople agree to feather all their nests.

  39. I gotta give you credit, Terry, for having the courage to step in the middle of this. Many “integralists” feel politics is not worthy of their attention. The system is completely broken. Neither Obama or Romney will be in charge, and they will govern just exactly the same on all the major issues, except for the appointment of totalitarian fascist judges to the Supreme Court (as opposed to the nicer fascists who let women still have control over their bodies while allowing the corporatists to rule unimpeded…see the DOJ’s focus while other countries are beginning to arrest corrupt bankers and politicians). However, that minor detail is enough reason for me me hold my nose, contribute, and vote for Obama. In the meantime, the whole thing is ultimately unsustainable, and we’d better be paying attention to what will arise to take its place.

  40. I would like to add that “let’s speak with one voice” is a chilling comment. We are not one voice, we are many voices, and I hope we stay that way. Group think is the antithesis of integral. Let’s not shut out the positives from all political positions.
    I’ll challenge you, Terry. If you will make this about putting forward integral views, and not about favoring one candidate, I will make a large contribution.

    • Dear Lynn,

      I hear—and even resonate—with the points you have made here in both of your posts—and with some of the points that others are making too.

      Partisanship is problematic and needs to be transcended. Integral practice transcends partisan approaches. Obama has been a terribly imperfect president, and has not reversed or taken a stand against some disturbing extensions of government poser. And especially, the point made by Kriste and Gary that US political institutions are broken and that they can’t solve all our problems.

      Nonetheless, please consider the deep truths contained in these elements of my original post:

      First, the whole reason I’m doing this is as a *practice*. I wrote, “citizenship is a dimension of our being-in-the world, and thus a necessary arena for practice. Practice is not to detach ourselves; it’s to engage more deeply.” How else do we engage the sphere of practice that relates to our public life except as participants in our existing political processes? We can practice as citizens in many non-partisan ways, but in some aspects of our lives, the only way we can engage is as partisans.

      Second: “I believe we are much more likely to get integral ideas included in a Democratic party platform than in a Republican platform, which has now been ideologically purged and purified.” and also “I am deeply concerned that the better part of a billion dollars, donated by a few extremely wealthy individuals…” threaten to dictate the results of this election (in distinctly unhealthy non-integral directions.

      I am hoping that this initiative helps set in process through which a group of us learns how to define and advocate integral views. If we learn how to do that, we will be able to bring them forward in the future *regardless of who is in power* (which is why I think it would be healthy for there to be a parallel Integral Romney initiative.)

      Finally, I am not advocating for us to “speak with one voice” in the sense of groupthink. I’m just suggesting that by joining together in our contributions, and later in putting forward our ideas, we will have a far greater chance of earning a channel through which to get a hearing for our smart integral policy ideas.

      So, I am listening respectfully to your (and others’) reservations, and yet I still invite you to reconsider the wisdom of the practice I’m engaging here (and inviting others to.) Maybe I’m wrong. But as a practitioner I’m doing what I need to do. This way of being wrong is my practice; I’m pretty sure it embodies a lot more courage and integrity than my alternative (political passivity, even if informed by complex theoretical ideas) would have embodied.


      • Thank you for responding, Terry. I do understand your need to act in the world- to walk your talk – and to take a position that you believe is most likely to have positive results. I respect your doing that. I still have reservations about the means and hope that one perspective doesn’t become the voice of integral, the politically “correct” view, and thus distance people who might take different political points of view. I don’t have any passion for taking up another party’s cause – I’m don’t agree with at least half of the positions of either party and I don’t want to support partisanship – and because integral is probably not awash in Republicans, it’s doubtful it will happen. Perhaps there are other ways to ensure that we don’t become partisan as a movement and that we continue to welcome and respect multiple perspectives?

  41. Believe me Terry, I’m tempted for the reasons you outline. And I feel given the situation, Obama is doing the best he can. Yet we have been voting “lesser of two evils” for decades, as much about party against party and the corporations that support/control them, not just the actual presidential candidate as a person, effectively perpetuating the pathological bi-partisan system. So, we vote for Obama out of fear of Republican takeover…THEN what? How do we get an authentic integral movement toward real systemic change sparked?

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete” – Buckminster Fuller

  42. I’m really surprised at YOU.Too bad that history will record the first black President as the one who did the country in.

  43. Terry, I support your initiative. I feel the same about Obama. In reality, if you’re running for president, you’re buying into all the problems and assumptions of the system. It’s not running for sainthood, or even just “progressive” nowadays. You wind up juggling vested interests, self interested constituencies in order to get things done. You wind up with a lot of “no win” situations. Maybe the best one can do is nudge the system forward.

    I feel sorry for whoever is going to be the next year’s president. It’s like catching a falling knife. Many things will be coming to a head (Iran, European debt crisis, Syria, fiscal clift, …). Add to this the fact a good portion of the population hates your guts in this highly polarized environment. The only reason to do this is public service, and to promote a vision and set of values.

    Mitt Romney has done us a favor by selecting Paul Ryan as a running mate. The American people now have a clear choice of what vision and set of values they want to go with, and suffer the consequences if they choose poorly. So we can at least be clear on that. Meanwhile, this is a case of going with your head and heart the best you know how, and “leaving the result up to God”. Or in Arjuna’s dialogue with Krishna, we fight, but the Divine will determines the outcome.

  44. Terry, I don’t understand. This doesn’t sound like you. I have made a personal pledge that I will never again support anyone who knowingly and willingly orders military assault on Innocent children, women, and men. Our president has and is still doing this act in our name. This is not God’s will. He continues to aggressively support the corporate greed, he still has not held anyone accountable for the financial failure, and has done very little for global warming. I feel you are asking me to vote out of fear. Fear that Romney will be elected. There is very little difference in the two. As long as corporations still own our elected officials it doesn’t matter who is president. I’m not voting out of fear I’m voting for a change. A vote for human rights, global cultural understanding, a vote where people are still in charge and government and corporation are subordinate.

      • @Kaine, Good point, there isn’t any perfect candidates, but the Green party best aligns with the traits that I listed above. I would like to say, that I hope and pray all the Obama supporters are right and our president is awakened to a higher call in his second term. I’m sorry I can’t join in the auction. I have worked hard with my local county commissioners and a group of activist, in placing democracy in action on our Nov. 6 ballot with an advisory question that request the representatives and Oregon Congress to recognize the citizens of Lincoln County do not except corporations as people and money is not speech.
        I am excited there are so many activist right now. That gives me hope.
        Its 3:23 in the morning and I am awake, because my great great grandchildren won’t let me sleep. Because my great great grandchildren asked me in my dreams: What did you do when democracy was stolen? (Drew Dellinger)

  45. Yes Terry, I agree with what you say and have donated as much as I can to his re-election. I will continue to send $ until Nov, election. No one could have done better with what he had to deal with when he was elected in 2008. Everything really is getting better and we must give him 4 more years to keep us on track.

  46. Mitt Romney is not the only alternative. Gary Johnson is also a candidate. Many say, voting for a libertarian is a wasted vote but, very clearly, so was my vote for Obama.

  47. Thanks so much for your leadership and for this well-considered argument, Terry. I feel that we as an integral-evolutionary community can get mired in indecision and passivity as we attempt to integrate so many perspectives, so it is refreshing to see bold, strategic action emerge! As disappointed as I have been at times with Obama, I am throwing my support behind him, as he is the better choice in this binary system, and Romney would surely take us retrograde. @Lynn, I hear your point about integral approaches across the political spectrum and support that as well. I’d love to see us take on a longer term integral politics initiative, AND I believe that right now, supporting a Democrat is the best we can do in the time with have, with the resources that we have.

  48. I’m in as well.

    The first time I’ve publicly stated my support in a political race, for many of the same reasons you mention Terry. Best of luck with this strategy.

  49. Terry, I’m sure you believe you are acting for the higher good, but I’m very disturbed to see an integral leader using integral pathways (e.g. email lists, a leadership position) to promote personal political views. I would much prefer to contribute to a fund that attempted to promote integral approaches across the political spectrum. I don’t want to see the integral movement turn into a Democratic movement. It would make it very uncomfortable for people of differing perspectives to remain associated with it. And isn’t integral all about welcoming perspectives?

    • I agree w/you Lynn because, honestly, neither of the two candidates really support policies that I agree with. I don’t think we’ll have it better or worse with a Democratic president v. a Republican president. Instead, the problem is with the system that does not allow multiple perspectives of third (and other) parties. I mean, if you’re not for Obama, is the supposition that if you are for a different candidate, one who does not support all of our various military interventions throughout the planet, does that really make you less evolved? No; I don’t think so.

  50. I believe Obama is clearer on the nature of a complete human being, body, mind, spirit, and community.
    We must ensure our discourse honors that fullness and do our own part to help support the full development of all of our citizens.

    • I agree with your reasoning, Terry, and would like to donate as I’m particularly worried about supreme court appointees should Romney win. However, I will not contribute to the negative ads out there. So until Democrats decide to take the high road and use TV time to educate and inspire, I will keep my money in my pocket. I love the Plato quote and definitely will be voting – FOR Obama!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Policy: In order to ensure a civil and respectful dialog, we are moderating comments posted here. All perspectives are welcome, including disagreeing ones, but we will not post flaming, taunting, vitriolic, or excessively long comments, including those quoting other articles at length. In most cases, we will publish your comment within a few hours.