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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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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.
Clinton vs. Trump
A More Integrated Perspective
‘Trump is not merely a bad choice, he is (as many leading Republicans have already admitted) a catastrophic choice.’
In my recent Integral World essay The Antidote for US President Trump there were a number of comments to the effect that my perspective was “partial.” Well to quote some of the commentators in their more evocative language, I swallowed the Democratic mainstream message “hook, line, and sinker” and I drank the “Mainstream Media Coolaide” and I engaged in the “First Tier Food Fight.” But I tried to convey in my previous Integral World essay that I was not naive about the shortcomings of Hillary Clintonin particular about her hawkish inclinations that I always had much concern about. Yes I was moved by the Democratic National Convention and I was not disappointed in Hillary Clinton's speech. But the bottom line for me is that I believedand still believethat the choice of Donald Trump for president would be a disaster to the United States and the world that far outweighs whatever Hillary Clinton might do as the next US president.
Now I understand that not everyone agrees with me about what I believe in regard to Clinton vs. Trump. And in the interest of moving toward a more “integrated” perspective, I have been reading through both sides of the debate of this urgent issue. Bryan O'Doherty, in one of his comments to my above-mentioned article, suggested that I check out a site that is based upon a recently extremely critical book by Republican activist Peter Schweizer about both Hillary and Bill Clinton, entitled Clinton Cash. Well I checked out this site and watched the full hour-plus long video/movie based on the Clinton Cash book. And my reaction as I was watching the video/movie was one of alarm, shock, and embarrassment about how naive I had been to think that Hillary Clinton was anything resembling “good.” But then I started thinking about a more “integrated” perspective and I decided to check out responses to the Clinton Cash book and video/movie.
The video/movie made its debut “on the eve of the Democratic National Convention” and is timed perfectly to undermine Clinton's being elected and to give the throne of the US presidency to Trump. I'll leave it to interested readers to check out the site and the video/movie, but in the interest of a more integrated perspective, the following brief summary describes a detailed analysis that argues that the Clinton Cash book and video/move is full of distortions, lies, and statements completely out of context to formulate deadly accusations against the Clintons, from the article entitled Twenty-Plus Errors, Fabrications, and Distortions in Peter Schweizer's “Clinton Cash”.
A Media Matters analysis of the book found numerous errors, fabrications, and distortions. Media outlets tore apart Schweizer's allegation that Hillary Clinton played a “central role” in approving a Russian uranium deal for Clinton Foundation donors. He made multiple errors in a section alleging Bill Clinton's speaking fees influenced State Department grants in Haiti. He cited as fact a press release that was revealed as a hoax years before. He took a former U.S. ambassador's words “badly out of context,” drawing condemnation from the individual. He erred in his conspiracy about Hillary Clinton's vote on an Indian nuclear deal. He excluded multiple pieces of exculpatory evidence that undermine his claims. He hypocritically attacked the Clintons for engaging in the same behavior that Schweizer's former boss, George W. Bush, did. And he alleged Clinton conspiracies that, in the words of third parties who reviewed his work, have “no evidence,” are “circumstantial,” and have “no smoking gun.”
Now let me emphasize that I am not taking sides here, or claiming that Hillary Clinton is not blameworthy, and my own best guess is that the truth is somewhere in-between. But the choice we have is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and this to me is the crux of the issue. I am in agreement with the perspective described on another site recommended to me by one of the commentators, Marin Ucik, in my previous article; the article has the title Thinking About HillaryA Plea for Reason, written by Michael Arnovitz. Here are some of Arnowitz' thoughts that for me have much merit.
In terms of honesty, I've already addressed that. Hillary is a politician, and like all politicians she is no stranger to “massaging” and/or exaggerating the truth. And yes on occasion she will let loose a whopper. But is she worse than other politicians?….Evidence suggests that she is no worse, and actually better, than most other politicians….In fact there is very little dispute that Trump has been SIGNIFICANTLY [sic] less honest on the campaign trail than Hillary. According to Politifact he is in fact the least honest candidate they've ever analyzed!….A media frenzy has been aimed at Hillary Clinton for accepting speaking fees of $225,000 while Donald Trump has been paid $1.5 MILLION [sic] on numerous occasions with hardly a word said about it! Am I supposed to not notice that we are now in an election season in which Donald Trump, a proud scam artist whose involvement in “Trump University” alone is being defined by the New York Attorney General as “straight-up fraud,” is regularly calling Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and getting away with it?
Arnovitz makes the argument that much of this preferential treatment for Trump vs. Clinton when Trump has engaged in far more serious questionable ethical business undertakings, has everything to do with the “double standard” and sexism.
Presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being “manly”physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases.
Arnovitz sums up the choice we have in a way that I wholeheartedly agree with.
Never in my life has there been an easier or more obvious choice than now. Trump is not merely a bad choice, he is (as many leading Republicans have already admitted) a catastrophic choice, unfit in every possible way for the office of the Presidency.
And in emphasizing some of the fundamental positive aspects of Hillary Clinton becoming the next US president, I also think Arnovitz is on target.
She will fear neither consensus when possible nor ass-kicking when necessary. She will safeguard us from the damage a right-wing Supreme Court would inflict on the nation. She will stand for the rights of women, LGBT Americans, and minorities. She will maintain critical global relationships, and she will react to dangerous situations with the temperament of a seasoned and experienced professional.
And when all is said and done, it is actually this last point that I have included from Arnovitz' arguments that concerns me the most about the prospect of a Trump presidency. How would Donald Trump react to dangerous world political situations? What we know is what we have seen of how Trump reacts to criticism in his presidential political campaign, and if we dare to envision his reactions in “critical global relationships” then I am afraid that World War III is just around the corner. The last thing this world needs right now is the president of the United States to be an enraged bully who is not able to tolerate criticism and “disloyalty.” Discrimination, condescension, dishonesty, narcissism, insulting language, crudeness, rudeness, and everything else that Trump is widely known for pales in comparison, in my opinion, with the devastation I believe he would cause for both the United States and the world if he becomes the next US president. And I must say that it is essentially for this reason that I am trying my best to focus on the positive aspects of Hillary Clinton, in spite of the political concerns that many people have conveyed about her, much of which I understand and share. For I very much want Hillary Clinton to be the next US president, now that the choice has come down to Clinton vs. Trump.
Notes and References
1) See Elliot Benjamin (2016). The Antidote for US President Trump. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net
2) See Elliot Benjamin (2007). Integral vs. Integrative: A Response to Scott Parker. Retrieved from www.integralworld.net
3) See Bryan O'Doherty's website http://https.brodoland.wordpress.com. [The video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LYRUOd_QoM]
4) In addition to having worked as a Republican activist and consultant for George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), which has had close ties to both the Ted Cruz presidential campaign and the Koch brothers (see the website in Note 6).
5) See Peter Schweizer (2016). Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreigh Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. New York: Harper.
6) See the website http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/04/28/error-filled-book-clinton-cash-be-turned-movie-2016-election/210125
7) See the website http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/04/30/twenty-plus-errors-fabrications-and-distortions/203480
8) See the website https://thepolicy.us/thinking-about-hillary-a-plea-for-reason-308fce6d187c#.86k5up4xu