The Presidency

It’s the night of the presidential inauguration, 2009. We are in
the White House with the new presidential team that has just
transformed the political system of the United States.

The president is having a good time. Her beautiful red velvet gown
shimmers in the candlelight, while her long dark hair frames her
intelligent face in casual splendor. Her vice president is standing
behind her, recounting their amazing victory. It is a moment of
reminiscence and celebration.

Something radical has just happened, despite the predictions of the
pundits and the mass media. The presidential team has been swept
into victory by an 11th hour popular uprising. They developed a
campaign so powerful at the grassroots level that they are being
called the founding mothers and fathers of the next stage of
democracy. They were the first team who could begin to appeal to
the higher needs of an incipient majority for unity, compassion,
and a comprehensive approach to the environmental crisis. They are
basking in the glow of a truly great achievement.

Just as the experts had been astonished when the Berlin Wall came
down in 1990, so now the pundits sit in stunned amazement at the
White House celebration, speechless for once in the face of the
vast social uprising that came forth during this campaign. Here are
but a few highlights of what happened. The full history has yet to
be written.

Making the Decision

In 2006, in the privacy of her heart, after deep contemplation and
prayer, a woman made a critical decision. Eve Fuller (a fictional
name) was a mother, an author, and a student of evolution, history,
and social/spiritual change. She knew we were a global system at
the edge of chaos. A small perturbation could transform the whole
system, for good or for bad. Since it was a whole-system crisis,
what was needed was a whole-system response. The American people
needed a realistic vision of positive options for the future; not
single examples of hope, caring, and success against the tide of
despair, but innovations and breakthroughs that were interconnected
and that together represented the natural evolutionary trend-the
organizing intelligence of nature itself toward a more cooperative
and life-enhancing world.

Eve’s ideas had been shaped by Abraham Maslow’s humanistic
psychology that each of us has intrinsic growth needs for higher
values and chosen, meaningful work; by Teilhard de Chardin’s idea
that God is at work in the process of evolution, leading to ever
more complex systems with ever greater consciousness and freedom;
and Buckminster Fuller’s awareness that we have the resources,
technology, and know-how to make this system work for everyone
without damage to the environment.

Eve’s profound indignation for the suffering of billions of people
was combined with a passionate love of science, quantum physics,
the space program, and the evolutionary significance of high
technology as, potentially, an expansion of human consciousness and
freedom. She saw that these new powers were preparing the way for
our species to evolve from its self-centered, planet-bound,
scarcity-ridden condition to its whole-centered, spirit-centered,
literally universal phase.

She felt that the secular and the spiritual are fused in the deep
human impulse to create and express the potential within each of
us. She knew that everyone has a vital creative calling that is
needed for the fulfillment of the person and the whole community.
It seemed impossible in the competitive, commercial world to create
a society in which people could express their life purpose in
meaningful work, since most of us are now trapped in jobs or roles
that inhibit self-expression and deaden our souls. Yet Eve saw that
this will become possible-indeed, natural-at the next stage of
socioeconomic development, when people are reassembled in
human-scale communities and the knowledge society/solar age
matures.

This was the real opportunity that was brought for the first
time on Earth to masses of people by an affluent and free society.
Material goals, once achieved, do not fulfill the human spirit.
They are not the end; they are the beginning of the next phase of
human development. Eve envisioned a presidential campaign that
could ride upon the crest of desire to self-actualize through
meaningful life purpose.

Creating Leadership

Once she had made her decision in the privacy of her heart, Eve’s
first step was to call her friends to help identify the best
leaders in each key field, practical visionaries who had already
manifested success in their work and who were well-networked with
others in their fields. She sought to form a transition team that
would incorporate new paradigm thinkers and activists with
establishment baby boom leaders who-as a result of entering their
sixties, moved by inner spiritual awakenings, their children grown
and their careers secure-were looking again toward the future. This
coalition between establishment types and new paradigm leaders
would be difficult to create. However, she felt that it would be
possible due to the fact that the nation was at peace, China had
developed a more democratic system and was no longer perceived as a
threat, and everywhere people realized that the environmental
crisis was the number one threat on Earth.

By 2006, moreover, there was enough consensus on new public policy
and conflict prevention that she believed that more establishment
types would be ready to learn from the new paradigm leaders. People
like William Ford of Ford Motor Company, retired general Colin
Powell, and former secretary of the treasury Larry Summers were
already transitional leaders from the establishment.

The paradigm leaders were people like Dee Dickinson in education,
who had put together the New Horizons for Learning Web site for
innovations in mind/body/spirit education and was already reaching
hundreds of thousands of teachers; Hazel Henderson in eco-economic
and social policy; Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins in
environment and energy; former Republican congresswoman Claudine
Schneider in spiritually motivated political action; Larry Dossey,
Andrew Weil, and Deepak Chopra in alternative, integrative, and
complementary health and healing; Jean Houston in human potential;
Lester Brown, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Thom Hartmann in environment;
Marshall Rosenberg in compassionate communication and conflict
resolution; Scott Peck in community building; citizen diplomat Rama
Vernon and Joe Montville, formerly of the State Department, in
conflict prevention and citizen diplomacy; Eleanor LeCain, Gordon
Davidson, and Corinne McLaughlin in best practices; Peter Senge,
Margaret Wheatley, and Dee Hock in organizational development;
Neale Donald Walsch, best-selling author of Conversations with
God
, and Barbara Field Bernstein, master of organization, in
spirituality and religion; and many others.

Eve also contacted John Hagelin, quantum physicist and founder of
the Natural Law Party, which had been creating the largest
third-party effort in U.S. history, collecting the millions of
petition signatures required to be on the ballot in all 50 states,
running thousands of candidates for local, state, and federal
offices. For many years, he had asked people to ‘take ownership of
the party.’ She knew that this party was founded by people who
practice Transcendental Meditation and believe that the development
of our full mental and emotional potential is the key to social
change, and that over the years, the party had expanded to embrace
all forms of practical spirituality, seeking out social innovations
and solutions that work in all fields.She also asked Don Beck,
author of Spiral Dynamics, who had charted the memetic codes
that guide the behavior of different cultures and who had helped
overcome apartheid in South Africa, to help them construct a new
memetic code based on life-enhancing policies and social
innovations in every field. (A meme is a self-replicating idea that
guides the development of a culture, just as a gene informs the
building of a body.)

Her list made, Eve invited these leaders to meet as the guests of a
church where she had once spoken. Its motto was ‘Resolve to
Evolve-The Only Solution Is Our Evolution.’ In the sanctuary of the
church, she stood and bowed her head in silence. It was a sacred
moment.

Eve lifted her head and said, ‘I propose that we form a
presidential team to transform the American presidency and to set
the pattern for the transformation of our society.

‘This team is to be initiated by people like ourselves who are
willing to spend enough time to learn what each other knows, to
discover the synergies between our various initiatives, and to work
together to develop an Evolutionary Agenda-the real, practical
options for a positive future. Although we can reach into the past
for the wisdom we have lost, we cannot go back. We can only move
forward.

‘The Agenda will seek to realize Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs applied to society: basic needs for food, security, shelter,
self-esteem; growth needs for self-rewarding work of intrinsic
value; and transcendent needs to be part of a larger whole, and to
go beyond the limitations imposed upon us by self-centered
consciousness and a constricted view of our full personal, social,
and technological potential. Our task is, at this stage, to link
evolutionary, futuristic innovations that work with the best of
existing environmental and social policies-to pull the whole system
forward.

‘Instead of playing adversarial politics, we will develop a
‘politics of the whole.’ We will form a Citizens’ Coalition. Our
motto will be ‘Don’t attack, attract.’ The process of the campaign
is the key, not only the policies, important as they are.
Representative individualistic democracy has reached a limit. We
need a more cooperative, participatory, synergistic democracy, a
‘synocracy,’ to fulfill the next phase of the American
Revolution.

‘We will invite people, regardless of party or ideology, to gather
in large town meetings in the round, representing the community as
a whole system. People will be invited to enter the sector of their
choice-health, education, environment, economics, arts and media,
and so on-to express their visions, their goals, their needs, and
their personal desire to create in that field. We will facilitate
them to seek common goals, match needs and resources, and find
teammates to realize their vocations and projects. We will ask them
what they know is really working.

‘I propose that we work with the Natural Law Party, which is on the
ballot in every district of the country. John Hagelin has already
formed a national coalition of third parties, including the Greens
and the Reform Party, along with mainstream Republicans, Democrats,
and those who do not vote because they do not believe it will make
a difference.’

She nodded in appreciation to John, who for almost 2 decades had
dedicated himself to building this new political base. A look of
relief and joy crossed his features. He bowed his head.

‘We need only one more catalytic act to shift the tide of American
politics,’ Eve concluded.

Her speech was met by silence. Finally, one of the listeners arose,
a highly successful academic and author. ‘My dear,’ he said, ‘you
have stated the case. You have set the goal. I have been waiting
all my life for the chance to do this. I’m in!’ One by one, all the
guests, who had been well-selected, stepped forward and committed
themselves to the great work ahead.

Preparing the Message

The team spent the next few months on the Internet and in
occasional meetings, sharing their visions, their personal
intuitions as to what is emergent and working, and how the various
projects and programs interconnect as parts of a living system that
is based on the scientific reality of underlying unity from which
all of Nature’s evolutionary laws can be derived.

They acted as if they were already members of the Cabinet of the
United States that actually guides the nation. They solidified the
vision, bringing the future into the present. They decided that
they would offer themselves as a team, to dispel the fallacy that
any one person knows how to save the world. They saw an essential
role of government to be to empower, coordinate, and inspire the
work and creativity of the people and grassroots organizations
already working effectively on a small scale.

Eve was their presidential candidate. The first man to offer his
support at the meeting, Dr. Alan Jones, was selected to be the vice
presidential candidate. Three teams were set up: one for policy,
another for participation and synergy, and a third for social
innovations.They then began the fascinating work of reaching out to
projects that had already been working to change a whole system,
like Mimi Silbert’s Delancy Street Foundation in San Francisco,
where ex-convicts and former drug addicts learn entrepreneurship
and rarely return to prison; microcredit loans for the very poor,
which were begun in Bangladesh and are now spreading around the
world; or Deborah Myers’s South Central School in Harlem, where 90
percent of the students go on to college.

They started to flesh out the evolutionary agenda based on these
initiatives, which were already creating new possibilities.

Working with Eleanor LeCain, they developed an Internet site called
the Peace Room to scan for, map, connect, and communicate the best
innovations and practices in every field, to allow people who want
to get involved to know what is working, who can be their mentors,
and how to find their teammates right where they live. They
declared that the Peace Rooms on Earth would one day be more
sophisticated than the war rooms of the world.

The team connected all relevant hot links and leaders of networks
of positive change in every field, devising the most exciting set
of options for the American people that had ever been put
together-a new American pragmatism, irresistibly attractive,
practical yet visionary.

It was the first campaign for, of, and by what social analyst Paul
Ray called at the end of the 20th century ‘the cultural creatives,’
people whose values were already changing toward planetary
consciousness, gender balance, sustainability, human rights,
compassion, partnership, personal responsibility, social justice,
nondenominational spirituality .At that time, they were an
estimated 44 million, or one-fifth of the American population.
Their number had since swelled, and they formed an incipient
majority.

Eve believed that the campaign could gain immediate financial
support from some of the founders of the high-tech era, those who
had personal spiritual experience combined with the vision of
resource-efficient economic growth and the intention to prevent
further environmental destruction. She was grateful that the
campaign-finance laws had been changed and there was now full
public sponsorship, including free media, and no soft money for the
presidential race. The campaign was launched on CNN worldwide. (Eve
was a good friend of Ted Turner’s. He agreed boldly to give the
campaign worldwide coverage.) The event was designed with the flair
of a NASA space launch. The whole team was on the set, standing
together.

Eve stood forward and said, ‘This is an announcement of the
Campaign for a Positive Future. I am running with this team for the
presidency of the United States of America. If you elect me, here
are the people who will serve you with me. Our purpose is to
provide to you, to every person in this country, the opportunity to
participate in creating the world you choose.

‘We will come to every region of the United States to meet you
face-to-face and find out from you what is already working. We will
invite you to gather in large town meetings in the round, to share
with each other and with us what you want to create, what your
needs are, and what resources you are willing to give.

‘Our Peace Room on the Internet will map and track breakthroughs
from one part of the country to the next. We will ask that old
military bases be used as situation rooms. Many retired military
and corporate executives are offering to help design and monitor
the vital signs of problems and solutions, of creativity and new
possibilities in the United States. We are inviting our friends and
neighbors in every country in the world to do the same. The Peace
Room is open to the planet. In our first 4 years, we will have a
full picture of the emerging world. This campaign is a call to
bring together the greatest force for positive change that the
world has ever seen.’A large wheel representing all sectors of
society was visibly and graphically displayed on television.
Innovators and projects already working were flashed on the screen
and shown to be connected as vital parts of the whole system. Many
of the social pioneers were gathered in the television studio,
dramatically sharing their vision and practical solutions.
Innovators came in by satellite to demonstrate the actions that
were already working to educate, to clean the environment, to
develop nonpolluting energy, to heal, to resolve conflict, and so
on. The vice presidential candidate, followed by members of the
proposed Cabinet, stood forward and spoke, pointing to
demonstrations to back up policies and initiatives.

Eve concluded her talk: ‘We can ensure that every new automobile
gets 100 miles to the gallon, according to William Ford, our
proposed energy secretary and former head of Ford Motors. We can
save the world’s rainforests, coral reefs, and oceans by shifting 2
percent of the defense budget to such goals without endangering
national security, a plan to be implemented by Colin Powell, our
proposed secretary of defense. We can focus on low-cost disease
prevention rather than continue to waste money on high-cost cures,
a new direction that can save $100 billion in the nation’s medical
bills, according to studies conducted by Andrew Weil and Dean
Ornish, our nominated advisors to the department of health and
human services.

‘Come and join us in creating a positive future for yourself, your
children, and your communities,’ she ended.

The Momentum of Change

The event was a spectacular success. It topped the ratings for that
night, causing panic in the other campaigns. It no longer seemed
cool to make your announcement all alone and pretend that you knew
what to do. The other candidates began to seek out initiatives that
were working. In fact, it became the new one-upmanship in American
politics. Instead of fighting against one another, political
candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties tried to gain
attention by finding the most exciting innovations.

But Eve and the Citizens’ Coalition were way ahead of the others.
They were already networked to the vast civil society. The
social-potential movement came alive. Musicians drew crowds to the
town meetings in the round, which became combinations of revival
meetings, country fairs, and Chautauquas.

Politicians of all kinds wanted to speak at the events. No one
dared be left out. Teams of therapists and counselors assisted
citizens who had been marginalized. They formed a Council of High
Priority Needs and coached people who had been rejected to enter
the process of change. Organizational-development consultants
helped design and facilitate the synergistic meetings.

CNN covered the events live. Town meetings in the round spread like
wildfire at the grassroots level. The meetings were like
self-replicating cells of a new social life, working on the ‘3
Ps’-Policy, Projects, and Process. They spread to other countries.
In China, a mass movement appeared, attracting people into an
effort to build a freely cooperative process to take them beyond
the social failures of greed, pollution, and unemployment brought
on by the early stage of capitalism. The meetings proclaimed the
era of cooperation and creativity. The Communist Party did not know
whether they were to be feared or propagated.

Wherever town meetings occurred, permanent Positive Future Centers
sprang up, serving as hubs for like-minded citizens to gather,
support each other, pray together, and work to rebuild their
communities. The candidates asked all Centers, at every meeting, to
visualize the victory of the Campaign for a Positive Future as
already accomplished, to affirm that the people had won, that the
team had been elected, and that Positive Future Centers were
self-organizing throughout the world. Thousands of separate centers
began every meeting with envisioning, praying for, and affirming
the victory. The larger mass meditations for peace all predicated
the Campaign’s victory.

The power of prayer was directly applied to healing social disease
and promoting wellness throughout the land. The secular and the
spiritual joined in one breath and one purpose, animating the
people involved with a new spirit of hope and even happiness.
Instead of rallying for a war effort or natural disaster, people
were excited about coming together to create. Eve coined the phrase
‘Vocational arousal is sweeping the nation.’

The team discovered that a community in Santa Barbara, California,
had already pioneered tools and templates for any community to form
a ‘more perfect union’ where every person was called upon to make a
contribution and where all levels of government and citizen groups
were coordinating themselves for long range, holistic environmental
and social goals. The Santa Barbara cooperative worked around the
clock, training facilitators from all over the country.

Although extreme right-wing conservatives were dismayed, and at
first attempted to discredit the team, they were eventually
disarmed because the programs and processes were in fact new ways
to realize their goals of less government control and more
responsibility at the local level. The team also attracted
Libertarians, liberal baby boomers, disaffected voters from both
main parties, and, above all, the young. This was their campaign,
and they would win it! The momentum was irresistible.

There was a three-way race-as had happened years before for the
governorship in Minnesota-between Eve and the team, a Democrat, and
a Republican. The Citizens’ Coalition won. In one profound moment,
the United States returned-after a too-long hiatus-to being a
beacon of the next stage of human freedom, a partner to people
everywhere on Earth.

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a futurist and
lecturer who has authored four books, most recently Conscious
Evolution: Awakening the Power of Our Social Potential.
Hubbard
was placed in nomination for the vice presidency of the United
States on the Democratic ticket in 1984, where she received more
than 200 delegates’ signatures to propose to the Convention a Peace
Room in the office of the vice president. She is president of the
Foundation for Conscious Evolution in Santa Barbara,
California.

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