INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician,
counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 180 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a
number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health
. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY ELLIOT BENJAMIN
Part 1 |
Part 2 |
Part 3 |
Integrative United States President Joe Biden
A Journal of the Month Before the Election
and the Days That Follow It: Part 1
‘The man the Founders dreaded entered the high office they createdand proceeded to abuse that office in just the ways they feared.’
At the present time there are about 2 weeks until the November 3rd United States presidential election. As an enormous amount of relevant and dramatic events are occurring every day, inclusive of President Trump having gotten infected with the coronavirus, I am dividing this essay into a series of component parts. This first part covers roughly a 2-week period of time, and includes my journal entries below. To justify my decision to make this essay into a series of parts, here is a concise summary of some of the events that occurred related to Trump and the election within the period of a few days, and this doesn't even include the harrowing report of a militia group planning on violently kidnapping and killing the governor of Michigan in addition to killing policemen, as a precursor to their goal of starting a second United States civil war .
“Remember last week? It was 2,344 Trump Years ago. The week before? In that time, we saw Trump's taxes released, and we thought that would be a big story, but it lasted about 12 hours. We had a presidential debate and Melania Trump's taped admission that she hates Christmas. Trump got COVID-19, and then embraced the Typhoid Trump moniker and shared the virus with untold many. It is quite likely he had it at that debate. He's also had several steroid-fueled meltdowns, culminating in pulling out of COVID-19 negotiations. There's a Supreme Court nomination that Republicans are desperate to ram through, and the vice president had pink eye and a fly at some debate. And the worst part of it? It is absolutely positively likely that I forgot to add something to that list!” 
At this point in time I certainly don't know for certain that Joe Biden will defeat Trump in a few weeks to become the next United States president. But for nearly a year and a half I have been promoting Joe Biden as both an “integrative” candidate and the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump, in the sense of “focusing upon the various perspectives of United States voters, and trying to gauge who may have the best shot at defeating Trump in 2020.”  Biden announced his candidacy on April 25, 2019, which happened to be my 69th birthday, through his passionate video denouncing Trump for his “very fine people on both sides” comment pertaining to the neo-nazis at the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right valley, and I knew as soon as I saw the video that I would be supporting Biden for his presidential bid . In two of my 2019 Integral World essays arguing that Biden had the best chance of beating Trump, I said the following:
“So who is this strong centrist Democratic candidate who can actually do the job on Trump? Well my integrative perspective is telling me that it is Joe Biden. Yes I think Biden. . . is in the best position to strongly carry the middle-of-the-roaders as well as get 'enough' of the progressive vote to defeat Trump. . . . I believe that if the candidate is not Biden then Trump will be able to effectively keep enough of his base and middle-of-the-roaders in the battleground states to pull off another four years. . . . I see Biden as an “integrative” candidate. . . in the sense that he is somewhat left of center, and I think has the potential to integrate diverse perspectives, ranging from my own progressive perspective to a Democratic centrist perspective to a middle-of-the-roader perspective to hopefully even a mild Trump supporter perspective. And thus my Thanksgiving 2019 wish, as today is actually Thanksgiving in the Unites States. . . is that Joe Biden becomes the Democratic candidate to go up against Trump in 2020, and beats him.” , 
Well fast-forward a year and a half and I got the first part of my wishI got my wish that Biden is the Democratic candidate to go up against Trump. And I can almost taste my complete wish for Biden to beat Trump, in spite of Trump's vehement efforts to “steal” the election , from what is appearing in the strong polling in favor of Biden, inclusive of Trump's fiasco of a presidential debate and his subsequent (or perhaps simultaneous?) getting infected with the coronavirus , , . But I fully realize that the game is not over until it is over, which is why I am taking this essay in parts, as there is such an overwhelming amount of (negative) stimulation and events happening in this political farce arena each and every day. But before going into my journal entries, it is well to keep in mind what Jungian psychoanalyist Murray Stein said in 2012 that I believe gives a firm foundation for why I believe we need Integrative United States President Joe Biden to emerge in a few weeks out of the horrific chaos that the United States has lived through for nearly 4 years.
“The desire to have a strong leader comes out of profound anxiety and the wish to get rid of it. People look for somebody to lead them, and to tell them what to do. But as history has shown, the so-called strong leader can sometimes be a dangerous figure. For a democracy like ours, it's better to have someone with common sense and the ability to find a sane balance among competing forces.” 
Monday October 5
Less than a month until the election. Trump was in the hospital for 3 days with the virus. I go back and forth between feeling optimistic and hopeful that Biden will beat Trump and we will eventually gain control of the virus and there will be a future to look forward to, and feeling depressed and hopeless that Trump will “steal” the election  and all I can do is accept what happens and make the best of life for as long as I am still able to live. I was very afraid that Trump would become a “hero” to many people in the United States, being perceived as strong and beating the virus, and that he would consequently gain in the polls and make the results close enough for him to successfully “steal” the election through claiming that the mail-in ballots were invalid, as he engages in numerous court battles and twists the arms of Republican legislatures to result in the electors in crucial swing states voting for Trump even though Biden wins the popular votes in these states . However, at this point in time it appears that Trump has not gained the sympathy of the voters that he needs to pull this off, as many people (including a number of Republicans) feel that Trump was responsible for getting the virus by his lack of taking precautions through wearing masks and social distancing . I was also hoping that Trump would not be able to engage in the second and third debates with Biden, as it was so painful for me to watch the first debate for 90 minutes, with Trump's continuous bullying and interrupting of Biden . But I fear that Trump, through receiving continuous excellent state of the art medical care in the White House, is gong to be able to get right back to his repulsive and oppressive behaviors in all forms, including trying to win over voters through a demonstration of “strength through bullying” Biden in the remaining two debates.
Well, it is going to be a long month, and each day feels like an eternity. Let's see what happens tomorrow.
Saturday October 10th
Well it's now 5 days later. The continuous swirl of Trump and election news is harrowing and suffocating to me and there is still 3½ weeks until the election, and then who knows how long it will be until the winner is finally decided upon. But from what the polls are saying, in all likelihood Joe Biden will persevere to “officially” win the election; i.e., he will very likely win the necessary number of electoral college votes that “should” result in him becoming the next president of the United States ,. But as a number of people have conveyed and I have briefly described above , it is likely that Trump will try to steal the election by claiming that the mail-in ballots are fraudulent (with no factual basis for this claim) and then engage in a multitude of lengthy legal battles in crucial swing states, which may likely end up decided upon by a conservative 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court, with the goal of destroying American democracy through the electors in these crucial swing states voting for Trump even if Biden wins their state's popular vote.
This dire prospect is enough to make me feel helpless and crazy and paralyzed with fear. But there are also a multitude of progressive forces already in motion to fight what is being described as Trump's attempt at a “coup.” They can be classified under the umbrella of the Protect the Results movement, with the progressive grass roots Indivisible organization at the forefront of the movement . I participated in a 2-hour Zoom workshop given by the prominent social activist George Lakey, designed to get people ready to take action to “Stop the Coup” . But no matter what happens, the whole situation is frightening, as “civil war” may very well be the consequence of Biden being declared the winner of the election, along the lines of the militia group who planned on kidnapping the governor of Michigan .
Well at least America gets a reprieve from having to undergo the second presidential debate next week, as the debate commission decided it was not safe to take place in person due to Trump having the virus, and Trump refused to do the debate virtually (where his ability to interrupt Biden would be severely limited). It is still quite possible that there will be another debate before the election, but I am thankful to have at least a bit of time to get a much needed break from watching Trump for 90 minutes again. And I was glad to see Kamala Harris hold her own against Mike Pence in the vice presidential debate, as Harris was generally perceived as the winner of the debate . What progressives are hoping is that the preparation to “stop the coup” will be an exercise that is not needed to take place in reality, through Biden defeating Trump in a wide enough margin to make it untenable for Trump to seriously attempt to steal the election .
But I know the drillexpect on November 3rd for it to look like Trump won the election since Republicans are far more likely to vote in person than Democrats, and for Trump to declare victory. Then within the next few days as the mail-in ballots get counted, Biden takes over the lead and eventually is determined to have secured enough electoral college votes to win the election. And then the nightmare really beginsthe court battles and the massive intimidation and threats and violence from multitudes of Trump supporters who have been convinced by Trump that they need to take action to prevent the presidency from unfairly being stolen from him. Major “fake news” and gaslighting is likely to prevail for who knows how long, and I know that people need to take to the streets in multitudes to “stop the coup.” And I also know there is a deadly virus going on that is in the process of escalating more and more as the weather gets colder and many people in America still are not practicing basic safety measures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance. So I'm not going to join the multitudes in the streets. I don't know what I'm going to do, but one thing I do know is that there will be another journal entry in this Part 1 essay before it is completed.
Headline from The Atlantic.
Monday October 19th
It's now 9 days later and the election is 2 weeks from tomorrow. I'm still cautiously optimistic that Biden will become our next president, but Trump is doing all he can to destroy Biden the way Hillary Clinton was destroyed in 2016once again through the ghost of “e-mails.” This time it is the attempt to smear Biden through former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani propagating that Biden's son Hunter supposedly set up a meeting between his father and a high level Ukranian energy firm executive, and tying this to Biden later advocating for a government official in Ukraine firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company that Hunter worked for . However, this claim has serious loopholes and mis-information in it, and I certainly hope that it does not mushroom into the mainstream media and have a damaging effect on Biden, though there are some concerning signs that it is possible this could happen to some extent . On the other hand, the Get Out the Vote movement has been fantastically successful, as about 20% of the voting population have already voted, and there is still 2 weeks left until the election . Last week's dueling simultaneous Trump and Biden town halls most definitely went in Biden's favor , and all eyes are on the upcoming second and final debate between Trump and Biden in 3 days.
I didn't need to hear any more alarming reports about the debacle of Trump becoming president for 4 more years, but David Frum and Umair Haque each starkly portrayed what they believe is the overwhelming disaster for the United States if this were to occur . According to Frum:
“Trump's appeal is founded on a racial consciousness and a racial resentment that have stimulated white racist terrorism in the United States and the world, from the New Zealand mosque slaughter (whose perpetrator invoked Trump) to the Pittsburgh Synagogue murders to mass shootings in El Paso, Texans, and Gilroy, California. In recent weeks, political violence has caused those deaths in Kenosha and Portland. A second Trump term will only incite more such horror. The man the Founders dreaded entered the high office they createdand proceeded to abuse that office in just the ways they feared. Now that man is seeking a second term, which would be even more abusive and dangerous. Trump's election strategy is to weaponize the Electoral College to re-secure the presidency of the United States over the opposition of the majority of the people who live and vote there. . . . It's a trick of authoritarian populists like Trump to proclaim themselves leaders of 'the people,' even as large majorities of the electorate reject them. The authoritarian populist defines 'the people' to exclude anyone who thinks differently. Only his followers count as legitimate citizens. . . . Trump uses power to enrich himself and weaken any institutions of law or ethics that gets in the way of his self-enrichment. He holds power by inflaming resentments and hatreds. A second term will mean more stealing, more institution-wrecking, more incitement of bigotry. . . . Will elections be run fairlyor be manipulated by the president's party to prevent opposing votes from being cast and counted? Will majority rule remain the American way? Or will minority rule become not a freak event but an enduring habit? These questions are on the ballot as Americans go into the voting booth.” 
Frum's theme of Trump as an “authoritarian populist” is intensely expanded upon by Umair Haque, using the language of “fascism” and includes Trump allegedly ordering an “extra-judicial killing”:
“To survivors and scholars of authoritarianism and fascism, a President apparently confessing to and bragging about having death squads is unbelievably bad. It crosses whatever last few lines of decency and sanity and normality are left in a society. What the President seems to be doing is effectively boasting about ordering an extrajudicial killing. One carried out with the involvement of government institutions. Who, apparently, happily did his bidding, because, well, he's the President. . . . We predicted the camps, bans, raids, purges, even the beatings and disappearances. . . . The results for American were fatal. It ended up being a country with concentration camps, where protesters get disappeared, and now killed, and the President seems to brag about all that. . . A second Trump term will be unbelievably bad. . . . No Covid planmillions eventually die. The economy goes into a depression, that lasts for a decade or more. The last vestiges of trust die. Happiness craters, and despair skyrockets. . . . Beatings, gassings, disappearancesthese become everyday events. Law enforcement becomes militarized and radicalizedit's now a Gestapo, whose job it is to suppress democracy, not enforce the rule of law. Rule of law? There is nonethere's just what the authoritarians and fanatics want. And their paramilitaries carry out things like extrajudicial assassinations every day, week, month. Whole branches of government now becomes part of the fascist and theocratic mission, which is to annihilate minorities, and those who stand up for democracy, and reshape society as a crusade for purity and blood and soil. One by one, freedoms finally die, until all that's left is a populace wondering: 'What the hell happened? We voted them out! And yet here they are, beating, gassing, disappearing us. Killing us!'” , 
Well I think it is time for me to end this Part 1 essay. I fully realize that a number of Integral World readers will likely see David Frum and Umair Haque's calls of alarm as being very much exaggerated and unwarranted. But I actually think their calls of alarm are not at all unrealistic in their stark and harrowing descriptions of what 4 more years of Trump could entail for anything resembling democracy in the United States. At any rate, stay tuned for Part 2.
Notes and References
1) See Paul Egan & Tresa Baldas (2020, Militia Group Plotted to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Feds Say. Retrieved from https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/10/08/governor-gretchen-whitmer-kidnap-plot-militia/5921409002/; and David Neiwert (2020), Conservatives Run Away from Consequences for encouraging Michigan Militia's Terrorism Plot. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/12/1986057/-Michigan-Republicans-struggle-with-recognition-of-their-own-roles-in-fueling-militia-kidnap-plot?utm_campaign=trending
2) See Kos (2020), Trump's Reelection Status Is Dire. This Is How Dire It Is. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/8/1984754/-If-you-thought-Trump-s-battleground-polling-looked-bad-LAST-week-just-wait-to-you-see-it-now
3) See Elliot Benjamin (2019), Defeating Trump in 2020: An Integrative Perspective. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net/benjamin98.html
4) See Joe Biden's April 25, 2019 entering the presidential campaign video at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/biden-campaign-video-announcement.html
5) See Elliot Benjamin (2019), An “Integrative” Democratic Candidate is Needed to Beat Trump. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net/benjamin101.html
6) See Elliot Benjamin (2020), Could Trump “Steal” the Election? An Integrative Perspective. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net/benjamin110.html and the references therein; and Mark Sumner (2020), Trump Investigating Idea of “Loyal Electors” Who Will Vote for Him, Regardless of Election Results. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/9/23/1980034/-Trump-investigating-idea-of-loyal-electors-who-will-vote-for-him-regardless-of-election-results
7) See Dartagnan (2020), There's a reason Trump Isn't Getting Any Sympathy, and It Has Noting To Do With Politics. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/5/1983736/-There-s-a-reason-Trump-isn-t-getting-any-sympathy-and-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-politics
8) See Richard Wolffe, 2020, Trump Heckled, Bullied and Lied Through the Debate. It Won't Help Him Beat Biden. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/30/donald-trump-joe-biden-debate-bully-heckle-lie
9) See Kerry Eleveld (2020), Post-Debate Polls Show that Trump Destroyed Himself at Last Week's debate. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/6/1984013/-Biden-takes-10) commanding-national-lead-as-Trump-s-debate-and-coronavirus-handling-drag-him-down
10) See Murray Stein (2015), On Election Day, the Voice of the People Will Speak. In Pynthia Peay (2015), America on the Couch: Psychological Perspectives on American Politics and Culture, pp. 392-404. New York: Lantern Books; the quote is on page 400.
11) See the Indivisible website (2020), “Protect the Results” Expands to 80 Groups as Coalition Prepares to Mobilize Should Trump Contest Election. Retrieved from https://indivisible.org/statement/protect-results-expands-80-groups-coalition-prepares-mobilize-should-trump-contest
12) See the Choose Democracy website (2020), 10 Things You Need to Know to Stop a Coup. Retrieved from https://choosedemocracy.us/prepare/#.X4H2bdBKjcs
13) See Jennifer Agiesta (2020), Post-Debate CNN Poll: Harris Seen as Winner in a Contest That Matched Expectations. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/07/politics/mike-pence-kamala-harris-vice-presidential-debate-poll/index.html
14) See Ed Kilgore (2020), Should We Stop Panicking About Trump Stealing the Election? Retrieved from https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/10/should-we-stop-panicking-about-trump-stealing-the-election.html
15) See Staff Writer (2020), Hunter Biden's Hard Drive Links Joe Biden to Foreign Lobbying Operations. Retrieved from https://thenationalpulse.com/breaking/hunter-bidens-hard-drive-links-joe-biden-to-foreign-lobbying-operations/
16) See Matt Gertz (2020), The New York Post's Hunber Biden Smear Story Doesn't Make Any Sense. Retrieved from https://www.mediamatters.org/rudy-giuliani/new-york-posts-hunter-biden-smear-story-doesnt-make-any-sense
17) See Paul LeBlanc (2020), More Than 27 Million Ballots Have Already Been Cast. Here's Where Early Voting Opens This Week. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/18/politics/what-matters-october-18/index.html
18) See News Corpse (2020), TRUMP'S NIGHTMARE: Biden Takes the Ratings Crown in Dueling town Halls. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/16/1987024/-TRUMP-S-NIGHTMARE-Biden-Takes-the-Ratings-Crown-in-Dueling-Town-Halls
19) See David Frum (2020), Last Exit From Autocracy: America Survived One Trump Term. It Wouldn't Survive a Second. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/last-exit-trump-autocracy/616466/; and Umair Haque (2020), Take It From Us Survivors. A Second Trump Term Will Be Authoritarianism Unleashed: Take Your Worst Fears, and Then Understand, Even They're Probably Not Bad Enough. Retrieved from https://eand.co/take-it-from-us-survivors-a-second-trump-term-will-be-authoritarianism-unleashed-80af3f760b72
20) See Walter Einenkel (2020), Here's Video of Trump Bragging About US Marshals Killing American Citizen. Retrieved from https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/10/15/1986766/-Here-s-Donald-Trump-saying-that-US-Marshals-carried-out-an-extrajudicial-murder-on-his-behalf