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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician,
counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 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
Putting My Body
Where My Mouth Is
And Going Full Circle in My
Integrative Beating Trump Perspective
The bottom line is that I feel that I must keep my priority intact, which is to do what I am able to with the goal of stopping Trump from getting 4 more years.
Soon after Trump got elected in November, 2016, I knew that I needed to do all that was in my power to work against our new United States president and I immediately became part of the Resisting Trump movement, which I have documented through a number of articles and talks . The initial insight I got soon after the 2016 election was all about the importance of reaching moderate Republicans with the goal of gradually withering away their support of Trump. This was the motivation that led me to initiate my first Resisting Trump support group, which began in January, 2017 meeting for an hour and a half every other week . However, the group ended after 7 or 8 months, at least for me, as I came to the realization that I was not getting anywhere with the few Republicans who came to my group, and that I personally needed to become more involved with the progressively active anti-Trump Indivisible movement .
And it is now more than 3 years later, less than 8 months before the November, 2020 United States presidential election, and I'm on pins and needles to see if we finally get rid of Trump or if he will get 4 more years. In my past few Integral World articles I have been quite outspoken about my belief that a centrist Democratic candidate is needed to obtain enough votes from middle-of-the-roaders in battleground states to beat Trump . In particular I have in no uncertain terms voiced my opinion that if the Democratic candidate is the radical progressive socialist Bernie Sanders, then we are doomed to be stuck with Trump for 4 more years . Coming to this realization was painful to me, because my own personal political views are much more in-line with the progressive platforms of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren than with the more centrist platform of the Democrat candidate that I have been advocating for, who is Joe Biden .
Aside from my own lack of personal enthusiasm for Biden's centrist political platform in comparison to those of Sanders and Warren, I must say that I am also concerned about the continuous gaffes and word errors that Biden has demonstrated in virtually all the debates, which has given rise to questions from a variety of people, including some former Democratic presidential candidates, about his cognitive abilities, which could be dangerously ample ground for Trump to effectively label Biden as senile and destroy him on the debate stage . But what concerns me even more is Biden's completely losing his composure and actually cursing and threatening an auto worker publicly during a talk he gave to auto workers in Michigan on the day of the Michigan primary . The auto worker challenged him by claiming that Biden would take away his guns, and it has been reported that in the conversation between them that followed, Biden pointed his finger in the man's face, and used phrases including “you're full of shit,” “I'm going to go outside with you and slap you in the face,” and “don't be such a horses' ass.” . Biden's dominating victories in the March 10th primary states coupled with his disturbing interactive scenario with the auto worker was enough to stimulate Jim Clyburn, the influential South Carolina African American congressman whose endorsement of Biden has been credited with changing the whole momentum of the race and sparking Biden's comeback, to say what has been described as follows :
“House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) called for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to cancel the remaining 2020 primaries and debates if Joe Biden performed strongly on Tuesday night in order to protect him from saying something that he 'cannot overcome.' Clyburn told NPR,
'I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates—because you don't do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it's obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you.' Clyburn later added that as the process continues to drag on that Biden will get 'himself intro trouble' and will say something that he 'cannot overcome.'”
A few weeks ago it appeared likely that the Democratic candidate to go up against Trump was going to be the progressive democratic socialist Bernie Sanders . But at the present time, which is the second week in March, it now appears highly likely that the Democratic candidate will actually be Joe Biden . And Biden's disturbing (to me) crass macho juvenile interaction with the auto worker in Michigan did not stop Biden from winning the Michigan primary by a substantial margin over Sanders, which prompted former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang to become the 6th former candidate to endorse Biden .
As I continue to weigh all the positives and negatives, I still believe that the socialist/communist stigma that Trump would effectively weaponize on Bernie Sanders would be significantly more destructive than what Trump would be able to accomplish through painting the picture of Biden being senile and cognitively defective . I certainly hope that Biden gets some therapeutic counseling and learns how to more constructively deal with his anger and personal vulnerabilities, as this will be crucial for him if he is going to be able to hold his own on the debate stage with Trump . But regardless of whether or not Biden develops more skill with his personal difficulties, I still must bet on Biden over Sanders when it comes to the general election against Trump in November. There are no alternatives now, so Biden—with all his alarming weaknesses—is the make it or break it; and it also may very well be the case that many of what I refer to as the middle-of-the-roader voters in the battleground states who I am hoping will vote for Biden may actually have approved of Biden's “tough-guy” crass macho interaction with the Michigan auto worker .
At any rate, since Biden in November is still not yet a done deal, let me play with the possibilities that I think could unfold in the quite possible event that Biden does not get a majority of the delegates and there is a “contested” convention . I think that Biden in all likelihood will become the Democratic nominee, after his strong South Carolina debate performance that led to his winning the state by an extremely substantial margin over Bernie Sanders, followed by his winning over two thirds of Super Tuesday states plus the most number of delegates, his endorsements by a number of his previous Democratic presidential contenders, and significantly extending his delegate lead through his big wins in nearly all the state primaries on the week following Super Tuesday , , .
However, less than 2 weeks ago it appeared that it was possible that the Democratic candidate could be billionaire ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, which was far more concerning to me than the mere fact that Bloomberg is a billionaire who was trying to “buy” the Democratic nomination and the presidential election . The difficulty for me was largely based upon the same repugnance that I have had with Trump's horrendous personal ethics . Now I believe that Trump's multitude of sordid affairs and sexual impropriety is much worse than Bloomberg's workplace sexual harassment and crude and crass “locker room” talk . But just the same, putting Bloomberg's disrespectful gutter talk about sex, gender, and race together with his damaging Stop and Frisk policies as Mayor of New York City, it had been difficult for me to feel any degree of enthusiasm for this former Democratic candidate, and my lack of enthusiasm transformed into a bona fide repugnance after watching Bloomberg during the February Nevada debate .
But it was quite a difficult set of circumstances for me, as I remembered back to how strongly I felt after Trump got elected in 2016; how strongly I felt to do all that was in my power to Resist Trump. And we are now entering the pinnacle of Resisting Trump. Impeachment has come and gone without Removal, and the impeachment process and trial may have very well hurt the Democrats in their mission to beat Trump in November . it may actually be the case that we need Bloomberg's money to have any realistic chance of beating Trump, and I am very relieved that Bloomberg has dropped out of the race and will use his money to support Biden .
Given my strong wish to have Biden as the Democratic nominee to go up against Trump, together with the fact that Biden won the delegate count in Maine , I decided to attend the Democratic caucus in the small town where I live: Winterport, Maine, to include myself as a candidate for Biden in the election of delegates to go to the Maine Democratic state convention in Bangor in May, thinking at the time that I would perhaps also try to become a national delegate for Biden in Milwaukee in July (see below). This is how the crux of the title of this essay came to me: putting my body where my mouth is. In other words, I saw this as a test of just how strongly I felt in 2016 that I must do all in my power to Resist Trump.
Now that Elizabeth Warrren has also dropped out of the race , the choice for the Democratic nominee has come down to Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, and I am very relieved that it now looks like Biden will prevail over Sanders to become the Democratic nominee in November . . But if by some fluke it turns out that Biden is not the Democratic nominee then I would still put my body where my mouth is, but it would be my “restrained” body. In other words, yes I would of course vote for Sanders over Trump but it is difficult for me to believe that there would be any bona fide chance of Sanders defeating Trump.
The bottom line is that I feel that I must keep my priority intact, which is to do what I am able to with the goal of stopping Trump from getting 4 more years. I have described in a number of previous essays my concern that Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate is fraught with the danger of leading to the disaster of 4 more years of Trump . However, there are many conflicting opinions about the viability of Bernie Sanders being able to beat Trump in November, though I still think that the socialist/communist stigma would bring Sanders down . One aspect of this whole ugly scenario that I believe is very important to keep in mind when thinking about the damage that Trump would undoubtedly do to Sanders by attacking him with the socialist/communist stigma, is to take into account the voting age demographics in the battleground states. For example, I think that older (50+) white voters may be more susceptible than other voters to Trump's inevitable destructive socialist/communist attacks on Sanders if he gets the nomination, and the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin constitute a significant percentage of these voters . Furthermore, there has been a lot of negative responses to the “less than civil” actions of Sanders supporters to anyone who disagrees with them about their candidate, as described in the following excerpt from an article by Risen Tree :
“There are people of all stripes, all incomes, all races, all genders, who want to return to a functional government with a sane human in the driver's seat. These are people who are sick and tired of being talked down to because they aren't comfortable demolishing our healthcare system in favor of one that has never been attempted on this size and scale in America. These are people who, when they simply ask how we would get that kind of moonshot up and running, are accused of being a part of 'the establishment.' Or worse, sometimes much, much worse. 'The establishment.' What exactly did Sanders and his supporters expect? That the Democratic base and the Democratic party would just roll over and be doormats while Sanders walked all over them? Not this time. When you insult, degrade, attack, and belittle a group of people, that group tends to fight back. And they did. Sanders has failed to learn the fundamental lesson of winning people over who initially disagree with you: You attract more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Thus for all the reasons I have described in this article and my previous related articles , , I decided to attend my Winterport, Maine caucus to try to become a Maine state delegate for Joe Biden. As it turned out, it was not very difficult to get “elected” to become a delegate at my small Winterport town caucus. There were 13 people in attendance, 10 of whom were Biden supporters and Biden was allocated 7 delegates from Winterport. Only 6 of these Biden supporters, including myself, volunteered to be Maine state delegates. So now I am set up to go to the Maine State Democratic convention in May as a delegate for Joe Biden. I initially had the thought of trying to go all the way to the national convention in Milwaukee as a delegate for Biden. But given the fact that I don't believe Biden “needs” me as a delegate since he apparently has the nomination essentially all wrapped up , , plus the debacle of traveling amidst the Corona virus, I think I will keep things relatively simple and safe and just go to the Maine convention, putting my “semi-body” where my mouth is and gear up for the momentous Biden vs. Trump showdown in November. I also must candidly say that as I learn more about Biden's troublesome and disconcerting (to me) political past, ranging through issues from women's rights and reproductive justice to criminal punishment to civil liberties to immigration to foreign policy to climate change, etc. , it leaves me feeling rather sad that the reality is such that a progressive like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren was not able to make it work to be the Democratic nominee to go up against Trump.
O well, I suppose I will just have to agnostically “pray” that Biden does not put too much of his foot in his mouth or curse out and/or threaten too many people between now and the presidential election. Or that if he does curse out and/or threaten a lot of people between now and the presidential election, that the middle-of-the-roaders in the battleground states cheer him on and see it as being “tough” and worthy of a replacement for their former hero. But probably most of all, I will agnostically “pray” that Trump doesn't make mincemeat of Biden on the debate stage , and that Biden doesn't demonstrate to his critics that they are right about “Biden's cognitive decline” .
But to end on a more positive note, there are now signs that Bernie Sanders may soon leave the race and strive to impart as much of his progressive agenda into Biden's platform as he is able to, while helping Biden get elected in November through trying to persuade his (Bernie's) supporters to shift over to Biden for the unity of the country, in exchange for a Biden platform that is more progressive due to Sanders' initiative . This may very well become apparent in the upcoming March debate between Sanders and Biden , and I think this is the best possible thing that can next happen from an integrative perspective of beating Trump.
Notes and References
 See my various Integral World Trump-related articles, and the references in these articles which include some of my Trump-related talks and other articles, at www.integralworld.net
2) See in particular my Integral World 2020 essay "Sanders vs. Biden et al. From an Integrative Beating Trump Perspective", and my 2019 Integral World essays "An Integrative Democratic Candidate Is Needed to Beat Trump" and "Defeating Trump in 2020: An Integrative Perspective" at www.integralworld.net
3) The phrase Biden's Cognitive Decline has been promoted by 2016 Greem party candidate Jill Stein, at "Jill Stein calls out Joe Biden's gaffes, questions his mental capacity on Twitter", www.foxnews.com; for related articles related to concerns about Biden's cognitive fitness see Glenn Greenwald (2020), "Democrats and Their Media Allies Impugned Biden's Cognitive Fitness. Now They Feign Outrage", theintercept.com; Paul Waldman (2020), "Age-Related Mental Decline Is a Real Issue. For Both Biden and Trump", www.washingtonpost.com; and Henry Olsen (2020), "How Trump Should Take On Joe Biden"; www.washingtonpost.com
4) See Subir (2020), "Biden Says “You're Full of Sh**,” “I'm Going To Go Outside With you” to a Michigan Voter", m.dailykos.com. This kind of incident where Biden erupts with a confrontational voter is by no means an isolated incident; see for example Dan Mangan (2019), "“You're a Damn Liar, Man!”--Joe Biden Blasts Iowa Voter, Calls Him “Fat” After Man Repeats Ukraine Smear", www.cnbc.com; however, in all fairness to Biden, his spokeswoman Symone Sanders later claimed that Biden said, “Look, facts,” and not “Look, fat,” in reference to the man.
5) See Ryan Saavedra (2020), "Jim Clyburn: Shut Down Primaries, Debates To Protect Biden From Saying Something He “Cannot Overcome,”", www.dailywire.com
6) See Eric Stetson (2020), "Bernie Sanders and the End of the Socialist Boogeyman", www.dailykos.com; Mystic 54 (2020), "Sanders Is Running One of the Best Political Campaigns I have Ever Seen", www.dailykos.com; Kos (2020), "Bernie Is Electable. All of Our Democrats Are", www.dailykos.com; Chandu (2020), "Someone on MSNBC Actually Made Sense", www.dailykos.com; Zephr Teachout (2020), "Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President", thenation.com; and Jamess (2020), "What I Would Mean to Actually Finish the Legacy that FDR Started...", www.dailykos.com
7) See Phillip Bump (2020), "Why Biden Has a Distinct Advantage Moving Forward in the Democratic Contest", www.washingtonpost.com; Jennifer Agiesta (2020), CNN Poll: "Biden Has Double-Digit Lead Over Sanders For Democratic Nomination", www.cnn.com; and Matt Flegenheimer and Katie Glueck, "Joe Biden Is Poised to Deliver the Biggest Surprise of 2020: A Short, Orderly Primary", politomix.com
8) See Adrian Carrasquillo (2020), "Andrew Yang Endorses Biden Live On CNN", www.mediaite.com
9) See Katie Glueck and Alexander Burns (2019), "Can Joe Biden Deliver the Debate Performance He Needs?", www.nytimes.com
10) See Chris Cillizza (2020), "Why Joe Biden's Confrontation With an Auto Worker in Detroit Is Probably a Good Thing For Him", www.msn.com; and Jonathan Allen (2020), "Biden's Tough Talk a New Tack for Democrats", www.nbcnews.com
11) See "Brokered convention", Wikipedia, for descriptions of a brokered and a contested convention.
12) See Chris Cillizza (2020), "Chris Cillizza's Winners and Losers from the 10th Presidential Debate", www.cnn.com; Max Greenwood (2020), "5 Takeways from the South Carolina Primary", thehill.com; Washington Post (2020), "Live Results: Super Tuesday 2020", www.washingtonpost.com; and John Verhovek (2020), "Biden Builds On Moderate Coalition, Collecting Endorsements From Former 2020 Candidates", abcnews.go.com
13) See Zeeshan Aleem (2020), "A New Report Raises More Questions About Bloomberg's Alleged Sexism and Sexual Harassment", www.vox.com; Eric Levitz (2020), "The Price of a Bloomberg Nomination Is Too Damn High", nymag.com; Nathan J. Robinson (2020), "A Republican Plutocrat Tries to Buy the Democratic Nomination", www.currentaffairs.org; Charles M. Blow (2020), "Democrats, Don't Wish for Your Own Rogue", www.nytimes.com; Aaysha Qamar (2020), "Bloomberg Is Hiring a Small Army of Digital Organizers To Make Him Look “Cool” on Social Media", www.dailykos.com; and Kos (2020), "If We Nominate Bloomberg, We Are As Empty and Hollow As the Conservative Movement", www.dailykos.com
14) See Matthew Yglesias (2020), "Mike Bloomberg Is a Disaster", www.vox.com
15) See Zellie Lorenzana (2020), "5 Ways Impeachment Has Helped Trump and Hurt Democrats", thefederalist.com
16) See Emily Stewart (2020), "Mike Bloomberg and His Billions Are What Democrats Need to Beat Trump", www.vox.com; Thomas L. Friedman (2020), "Paging Michael Bloomberg", www.nytimes.com; "Michael Bloombertg Says He Might Not Spend to Help Sanders If He's the Nominee", time.com; and Paul Steinhauser and Kelly Phares (2020), "Mike Bloomberg Suspends Presidential Campaign After Super Tuesday Flop", www.foxnews.com
17) See MJ Lee, Gregory Krieg, Daniella Diaz, and Kate Sullivan (2020), "Elizabeth Warren Ends Her Presidential Campaign", www.cnn.com; and Astead Herndon and Shane Goldmacher (2020), "Elizabeth Warren Is Unlikely to Endorse Bernie Sanders. Here's Why", www.nytimes.com
18) See the articles in  for a positive perspective on the prospect of Sanders being Trump; see my article "Sanders vs. Biden et al." and the references therein in  for a negative perspective on the prospect of Sanders being Trump, as well as the article by Risen Tree (2020), "Respectfully, Sanders Supporters, What Did You Expect?", www.dailykos.com
19) See Frederick R. Lynch (2018), "Don't Discount Older Voters. They Could Decide the White House", www.nytimes.com
20) See Nathan J. Robinson (2020), "Democrats, You Really Do Not Want To Nominate Joe Biden", www.currentaffairs.org
21) Gregory Krieg, Ryan Nobles, and Annie Grayer (2020), "Bernie Sanders Vows to Stay in 2020 Race and Says He is Looking Forward to Debate with Joe Biden", www.cnn.com; and Alexander Burns and Matt Flegenheimer (2020), "Bernie Sanders Made a Big Concession Speech, Just Not the Usual Kind", www.nytimes.com