Joining the cadre of people dissecting what transpired on Tuesday in the United States General Election, I am going to share a conceptualization that emerged for me on Wednesday morning out of a night of restless sleep. I went to bed not knowing for sure who was going to prevail although I realized that I needed to be prepared to accept the outcome of Donald Trump being elected President. It wasn’t an easy night’s sleep as my psyche wrestled with this probable and deeply troubling outcome.
I note as well that I had just finished seven days working for the Coordinated New Hampshire Democratic Campaign. I had gone north to New Hampshire from my home in Washington, DC in the hope that my work would help make a difference. It was an exhausting week and I was very tired.
As with so many others with whom I associate with in Washington, DC and Rehoboth, DE, I was highly invested in a Hillary Clinton win. I saw Donald Trump from the beginning of the campaign as a dangerous outlier who was unlikely to win. I was hopeful that with the election of Barak Obama our country had turned a corner on the long road to a more just and equitable society. My work with Integral Theory and its Levels of Consciousness had also left me thinking that there was no way a Donald Trump could ever garner anything approaching 50% of the vote.
The election proved me wrong. So, what follows is the conceptualization that came to me in my waking moments of Wednesday morning. It is my Integral take on what had happened.
Those who have followed this blog have read previous postings where I’ve discussed or referenced Levels of Consciousness. Here are links to three previous postings: Levels of Consciousness Explained, An Integral Look at the U.S. Election, and most recently my posting entitled Is the U.S. Political System Rigged? Courtesy of the Daily Evolver website I’m also attaching a helpful graphic explaining the Levels of Consciousness, otherwise also referred to as Levels of Development.
My realization on Wednesday morning was that what I needed to do was to look at the United States as an organism comprised of the four prevalent Levels of Consciousness that exist within it and everywhere else in the world. These are the Red, Amber, Orange and Green levels. I encourage everyone who’s not familiar with Levels of Consciousness to read the descriptions of each of these four levels. It is well to note as well that the borders of these categories are fuzzy, meaning that there is inevitable overlap at the margins. The chart could also be composed of three categories or a hundred. The chart as set forth makes the basic point. (The reference to years refers to how long the particular level of consciousness has been on the world stage.)
The chart itself is hierarchical, meaning that each level up the chart “transcends and includes” the levels beneath it. And, each of these four levels lives and breathes its own unique reality, as described.
So, given this, try to view the U.S. as an organism comprised of these four levels, with significant membership in each. Try to imagine which Presidential candidate would have appealed to each level given the description and which consciousness each of the two candidates possess.
Here is my take on this: I would suggest that the Green level (Sanders’ die-hards and Jill Stein voters excepted) supported and voted for Hillary Clinton. It was a ‘no-brainer’ for this group, of which I am included. “Of course we are going to vote for Hillary given the choice before us.” In fact this group would have been almost uniformly petrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency. Green consciousness abounds in urban America and in the northeast and west coasts. Those of us in it almost begin to think that everyone must see things as we do. But, of course, as this elections shows, everyone doesn’t.
At the Orange level, I would suspect most, but certainly not all, voted for Hillary. I could see an Orange level voter going either way depending upon where they live, their particular values and their historic party identification.
I had noted previously that the lines between the levels are blurry. A better way of conceptualizing this is that a significant number of people are a ‘work in progress,’ that is they may mostly reside in Orange, for example, but cognitively they’re beginning to ‘think Green’. Likewise, it may be for some that their center of gravity is now in Green, but it’s still wobbly, with a lot of Orange values holding sway. Depending upon where one is will influence decisions like voting.
The Amber level, given the fundamentalist approach to religion at that level, likewise could have gone either way. Preliminary data from the election seems to suggest that this group went in very high margins for Donald Trump.
And finally, the Red level, where the candidate Donald Trump likely resides, would have likely uniformly supported Trump’s candidacy. It was, like the Green voter, a ‘no-brainer’ for this group.
What I found viewing the country in this way was that it enabled me to see the dynamic nature of the mix and why this was such a messy and untidy election. My take is that the Green level has had control of the Presidency in the person of Barack Obama for 8 years. His administration has represented and largely pushed Green level values. Yet as we can see, a significant portion of the country, apparently close to half, did not share these values. These people probably felt, particularly at the Red and Amber levels, that they were not being heard at all. They were ‘losing’ the country they knew – and they were. The refrain I heard often was “it’s just not the same country as I grew up in any more.” At the Red, Amber and some Orange levels, this would translate into ‘our country is heading down the wrong (some might say Socialist) path’. At the Green level, this change was viewed as progress in that it harkened a more just and equitable world. For some of us it was even indicative of a higher and more justice-oriented spirituality.
What I think happened in this election was that those at the Red and Amber Levels had simply had enough of being on the outside. A significant number also felt ignored economically and they blamed the party in power and a values system that was very foreign to them. They wanted change, even if in a real sense it meant voting against their own interests. They didn’t see that Democrats in any way represented their interests. Particularly with Red level Trump leading the ticket, they felt they finally had someone who was wholly voicing their anger and sense of cultural alienation.
It is important to note that there were no doubt many who possess Amber or Red consciousness that did indeed vote their own interests and vote for Democrats. I am speaking particularly of Red and Amber level African-Americans, Hispanics and Muslims. (Note that I am not saying that African-Americans, Hispanics or Muslims are uniformly of Red and Amber consciousness. These groups are of course represented in all of the levels of consciousness as is every other ethnic grouping in America.)
There is one additional thing to mention that plays into all of this resentment. It is the subject of race and the response to eight years with an African American President. This was an election in which a subject that had largely been repressed in some people – kept in the darkness — found light in the voice in Donald Trump. He was telling these people that it was OK to be politically incorrect and, in fact, be racist again.
The hope, if there is any in all of this, is that this airing serves as an exorcism of sorts that allows issues of race to be more openly and honestly discussed by everyone.
The point of all this was to help me, and now perhaps others, to see America as the product of its parts – the consciousnesses that make up the American electorate. For perhaps the first time in American history, those in the Red and Amber level consciousness have a President who is speaking their language. It is my expectation that this experiment will fail to produce what Red and Amber level Americans have been promised and are expecting. We shall have to see.
So, assuming we survive a Donald Trump presidency with no lasting harm to the Republic – a big assumption given Trump’s pre-election rhetoric – this will likely be a singular diversion on the long march to a more equitable and just America. Absent a calamity (the Hitler scenario, a nuclear confrontation, or a climate meltdown) there is every reason to believe that the Green level of consciousness will continue to grow such that it and the levels that are emerging beyond it (Teal and Turquoise) will become more dominant politically. Changing demographics also harken a more Green world of the future.
A final point on the emergent Teal and Turquoise consciousnesses: These are referred to as ‘Second Tier’ and represent, theoretically, an immense step forward in consciousness. They are levels at which individuals at these levels will not only fully integrate their own Red, Amber, Orange and Green parts, they will be able to skillfully work with all levels to find and encourage ever greater understanding and dialogue among the levels.
Thus, in my view the long-term scenario, absent the calamities listed above, is bright. We just have to wait this one out and it could take a while.
Let me close by noting that by late Thursday afternoon, it became clear that my work, along with so many others in New Hampshire, seems to have paid dividends. By very narrow margins Hillary Clinton appears to have won the popular vote for President and Maggie Hassan the vote for U.S. Senator in New Hampshire. Without that Get-Out-The-Vote work, this would almost certainly not have happened. Small numbers of people can make a difference.
I welcome a dialogue with any and all on what I’ve set out here.
If you are looking for a life coach, or a coach for end-of-life or grief issues, please consider contacting me.