An Open Letter
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.
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 IntegralObama.com, click here.