The 2012 elections in the United States were a significant victory for the Planetary Movement.
However they were a mixed victory.
A Significant Victory
The elections were a significant victory because, from the perspective of the Planetary Movement, Barack Obama is a much better President than Mitt Romney would be for many reasons.
The clearest reason is that President Obama embraced the truth that Climate Change, caused by human behavior, is really happening. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, actually ridiculed the idea of Climate Change in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention.
President Obama also recognizes that the economy needs to be regulated and taxed in a way that builds economic and social capital – repairing and reconstructing our physical infrastructure, strengthening our educational system, guiding our financial institutions to avoid the bad practices that led to the Great Recession, and addressing the extreme wealth imbalance that has emerged in the last few decades.
Candidate Romney was the representative of classic capitalism. Essentially his campaign said, unleash the free market by eliminating regulations and reducing taxes and it will solve our problems – particularly speeding a faster recovery, creating more jobs, and providing more economic security.
Also, President Obama’s coalition was a much truer reflection of the planet with live on, with overwhelming support from women, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and young people. Candidate Romney only received overwhelming support from older white men.
Internationally, President Obama has a much more nuanced foreign policy, attempting to further American interests in a way that recognizes the rapidly changing world we live in now, while Candidate Romney essentially sought to impose America’s will on the world quite explicitly.
A Mixed Victory
The elections were a mixed victory because both President Obama and Candidate Romney vigorously embraced a narrow kind of U.S. nationalism. “This is the greatest country in the history of the world.” “The American economic system is the envy of the rest of the world.” “We have the strongest military the world has ever known.” “God bless the United States of America.” In relation to these sentiments, there was no difference between the two candidates.
There is no question that the United States has an essential role to play in accomplishing what the Planetary Movement recognizes as our One Purpose – the transformation of the planetary economic, social, and environmental system to bring about peace and prosperity among all the members of our One People, the human species, and peace and renewal with the eco-system of our One Planet, the Earth.
However that role needs to be formulated based on an understanding of where we are in the human story here on Earth. Hunter/gatherers, essentially living like other animals, came to establish villages and took partial control over a relatively small piece of the planet. As villages became city states and subsequently empires, the territory of human partial control over the environment grew. Then the empires broke up into kingdoms, which became nations, and now, virtually every portion of the entire Earth is encompassed in one or another nation, with large scale partial control over the natural world.
We humans need now to recognize that we are putting our stamp on the whole of our One Planet and we need to understand, to the best of our abilities, how the Earth’s eco-system works and create a human/Earth hybrid system that is sustainable, and hopefully eventually optimal, for both parties in the human/Earth system.
The United States’ Role in the World
The United States certainly has a leadership role to play in this process, but we humans are One Species here on Earth. Just as it won’t work for 01% of the people in the U.S. to have an extremely disproportionate share of the wealth and power in this country and seek to impose their will on all Americans (as President Obama so eloquently articulated), so it won’t work for the U.S.’s 04.46% of world population to continue to have an extremely disproportionate share of the wealth and power in the world.
We need a new planetary system and the U.S. has a critical role to play in evolving that new system, but the U.S. needs to evaluate its actions based on how well they further the creation of that new system in a way that advances peace and justice and prosperity throughout the whole human species around the whole Earth. Anything less is self-defeating economically and politically and extremely dangerous to the whole species. Each member of the human species shares 99.9% of his or her DNA with every other member of the human species. Any single human could be the host for the mutation of a virus or bacteria that could become a pandemic. Our health as individuals and as a nation is inextricably tied to the health of the whole species.
We need to measure our individual behavior and the behavior of our leaders and our nation against the standards inherent in the three principles of Planetary Philosophy – One Planet, One People, and One Purpose. How well do they contribute to the health of the planetary eco-system? How well do they contribute to the health of the human species? How well do they contribute to the evolution of a global system that supports the health of the planet and the health of the species.
When the U.S. can demonstrate this kind of leadership, then it may deserve some of the “greatest nation on Earth” language that President Obama and Candidate Romney regularly used in this election.