Now consider the power configurations forming around McCain and Obama:
Obama is studiously vague about policy. However he has made the need for change into a mantra. His speeches invariably involve the need for “coming together”—both within the US and across the planet—why: To deal with some never quite articulated existential threat that affects us all and required all of us to deal with effectively. Obama’s speech in Berlin is a perfect example of this.
I believe that Obama himself has no clear idea of what he is actually talking about. It just feels right to say and is somehow effective politically. But how to explain the huge crowds who are drawn, enthralled to hear him speak? Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans know that we are fundamentally off course as a society and as a planet. They don’t quite know how or why or what to do, but they know something’s wrong. As the crowd of hundreds of thousands of Germans in Berlin clearly showed, so too do people around the world. What they all sense is the rapid approach of what I call our crisis-attractor.
Obama channels this angst. He appears to tap into our collective unconscious for his inspiration. Put another way, since we are all part of a single world system, the particular pattern of that system at a given moment has something like resonances built into its structure. Touch those and you touch everyone. This ability to go deep is the source of Obama’s power.
To get elected, he makes the usual alliances, kisses the usual power players’ asses, and so on. Yet, because these gatekeepers are not the source of Obama’s power, their control over him is limited. If fundamental crises of existence were to manifest during an Obama’s presidency he would have the potential for acting decisively while brushing aside all of the gatekeepers. He represents the point of emergence for the deep wants, needs and fears of people everywhere.
It’s like a volcano. Subterranean magma under pressure has to come up somewhere. Because it comes up at on particular point does not mean that there is something intrinsically special about that point. Pressure must be released somewhere. This is true for magma and also for pent up pressure for the emergence of a new systemic configuration. Because now is the very last moment at which such an option is possible, we can expect an eruption to occur.
As to McCain, he embodies the inertia of our world system. If Obama is change, McCain is “more of the same.” For McCain, only fear can serve to make people quiescent and obedient to the continued rule of our corporatocracy. Unsurprisingly, people and groups such as Lieberman, Hagee, Christian Dominionists of all stripes, Neocons, oil companies, are all tightly clustered around McCain. War and rumors of war must be their agenda simply because nothing else can keep them in power. Sensing impending crisis, they will lash out with force to attempt to preserve their self-serving status quo.
Like Obama, McCain probably does not know what his role is. He just wants to be President and he has sold his soul to the gatekeepers for the opportunity. However, the configuration of systemic forces arranged to preserve the status quo is intensifying in response to the growing desire of humanity for deep change.
Ultimately both McCain and Obama represent points of emergence—metaphorically like the volcanoes I mentioned above—for opposed deep systemic trends. It is not really about McCain or Obama as persons at all.
If McCain wins the election, we will have selected a trajectory which leads to the most rapid descent into the basin of the crisis-attractor possible, for the United States and for Western civilization. War, famine, and the flaming wreck of human civilization, in conjunction with the destruction of much of the biosphere, are the very probable outcome of making this trajectory choice.
With Obama we have a chance at a much better future. We can build on this choice by choosing an incrementally better trajectory by opting for Gore’s climate change proposals in conjunction with rapid research and development of renewable energy sources. Tax credits to homeowners to install solar and wind power and heating could have nearly instant results. Geosynchronous orbiting microwave reflectors (see both of my Infinity’s Rainbow books for details) could easily facilitate the creation of a global power grid based upon the sharing of renewable energy resources. This eliminates the need for inefficient energy storage by allowing for energy sharing, and greatly facilitates and planetary cooperation in the face of impending existential threat.
This political economy is irrevocably doomed. And in 2012 it will be too late to meaningfully alter our systemic trajectory. Once the crises hit—and they will—in the next few years, Obama will be in position to become a unifying leader for the planet leading to deep systemic reconfiguration, and the emergence of new capabilities to respond to the crises. Emergence and its increase in adaptiveness is the miracle which offers hope for a future.
This is why I believe that it is critically important to elect Obama despite his clear shortcomings.