I admit it.  I really am politically a progressive. If you read many of my posts on Conscious Bridge, you probably knew that.

However, I don’t stress my political leanings most of the time. My intention is to be a “bridge” that honors differences and seeks to connect us rather than divide us.  Hence, I try to encourage wise habits and positive political action. I encourage everyone to gather all of the facts and weigh them against their needs and intentions and make up their own minds. Therefore, I tend to avoid endorsing specific people running for office.  Four years ago, I never mentioned here who I was supporting.

This is a long time habit. Many of my roles in life have encouraged my downplaying who I personally supported.  For my years working as an executive and manager with the Federal government, I had to ensure that my political support was insulated from my public role with the agency. Our ethics standards always reminded us the need to do that. As a New Thought minister for almost 10 years, I have had to do the same in that position.  The Coffee Party USA by policy does not endorse specific candidates. I must ensure that in specific situations when I speak on their behalf, I don’t either.

But something about this Presidential election is different.  Although I am generally a quiet supporter of a candidate, this year in my role as blogger with Conscious Bridge, I feel that it is important to take a public stand in the “Clinton vs. Trump” choice facing us. Why?  The reason relates to the vision of this website. More on that in a moment.

Now, to be totally honest, I was (and am) a Bernie supporter.  I donated to his campaign.  I went to my local caucus meeting here in Colorado and voted for him in the primary.  His message of ending corporate control of our political system and addressing the issue of income inequality resonated deeply with what I believe is needed in our country.  He was most in alignment with my vision of the world.

But, of course, Bernie did not make it…..and I know that many Bernie supporters do not feel the same excitement about Hillary.  I get it.  Other than some anticipation over the historical aspects of having our first woman President, I don’t (yet) have the same passion for her candidacy and message that I had for Bernie. But what other choice do we have?

Considering Donald Trump

My favorite line on Trump running for President came from Seth Meyers back a few years ago at the White House Correspondents Dinner: “Donald Trump has been saying he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke.”  We all thought that.  Looks like the joke is on us.

Trump is an entertaining person, no doubt.  He certainly can create interest and drive eyeballs to programs he is on, running up ratings and ad revenue for the mainstream media.  I know that my recent series on Trump (Part OnePart TwoPart Three) had some of the highest numbers of readers for the past 6 plus years of writing the website.  (However, this is actually the number one article of all time on Conscious Bridge.)

But is he the best person to lead our country?

A few months ago, I interviewed Spiral Dynamics co-author, Don Beck, for the Conscious Bridge Radio program. Don surprised me by saying that Trump might be a better President than most people think.  His basic point was that Trump says outrageous things to get attention and garner surprising support but that he doesn’t feel compelled to carry out what he says he will do.  He speaks to his constituency at the level they want to hear and and then afterwards he quietly shifts to different (and generally better) positions.  OK, maybe.  I was not convinced.

In my observations, his comments and policy statements do more to divide us than to unite us.  Some of the things that he has said that I believe are harmful are outlined well in this video by Robert Reich.

Ultimately, I fear that Trump as President would exacerbate this divisiveness and take us backwards as a country.  I simply cannot support him.

Third Parties?

Yes, there are third party candidates running and I know that many will feel compelled to vote for one.  Many years ago in 1980, I voted for John Anderson for President.  I am dating myself by saying that.  I had been disappointed by Carter in his first term and could not find myself voting for Reagan.

Years later, I came to see my “protest vote” as a wasted vote and regret it.  Many who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 have expressed similar feelings to me. Although I would love to see a truly viable third party in the USA, we don’t have it now and any vote for such a person this year would be (IMHO) a mistake.

Supporting Hillary Clinton

And that brings me to Hillary Clinton. As stated,  I don’t (yet) have the warm fuzzies about her.  She has made a few speeches where she did say the things I wanted to hear. However, my feelings of support at this point are best summarized by this recent article by author David Korten. Bottom line: Hillary offers the best possibility for positive movement on a “progressive and inclusive agenda”.

What should that agenda be? As Korten writes, “it will welcome people regardless of the political, religious, racial, or gender labels by which they identify. It will support global cooperation among democratic, self-governing communities. It will encourage locally rooted independent and cooperatively owned businesses. It will push for new rules to get big money out of politics, end the corporate domination of both major political parties, regulate Wall Street, and break up corporate monopolies. And it will support demilitarization as an avenue to world peace.”

As I read these words, I realized how much such a political agenda sounds much like what I see as important outcomes that are truly the bridge to our highest future.  That future is of a world that works for everyone (as described here)…which is what Conscious Bridge is truly all about.  When considering that the purpose of this website was tied so closely to such a forward political agenda, I knew it was time to overcome my past desire to maintain personal privacy on such matters and go public here with my support.

So, I will fully support Hillary Clinton.

There, I said it.  And, to be clear, my support is not tied to my public roles with any group or organization with whom I work.

My support of Clinton is based on my role as a citizen and in my blogger voice here on Conscious Bridge.  I publish this website to create bridges between people.  I publish this website to create bridges from our current world conditions with all of its challenges to our future world, one that works for everyone. My support of Clinton sees her as the best choice to support that bridge.

Yet my support of Clinton comes with a caveat —it includes my intention of voicing our need to ensure that she holds to a progressive and inclusive agenda for our nation.

Finally, I want to stress that America needs to really do some soul searching as to why so many people are supporting Trump.  There are obvious needs that are not being met by a large number of people who see him as the best voice for their concerns.  If Hillary Clinton becomes President, her inclusive agenda is only really “inclusive” if it hears and honors their voices too.

Let us always remember that there is more that unites us than divides us.  We must maintain our focus on that fact.

Mark Gilbert

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