NOTE: Last week I posted an Open Letter to radio talk show host and author Mark Levin. Ironically, I am re-posting it here with one minor change. Its now an Open Letter to Senator Ted Cruz.
I was a Cruz supporter early and to the bitter end. I defended my support of him to my many friends and colleagues who could not comprehend why standing on principles was more important than winning. Now, sadly with Senator Cruz’s endorsement of Donald Trump, it seems the Senator doesn’t understand the distinction either.
In response to Senator Cruz’s justification, articulated this morning on the The Glenn Beck radio program, that its a “binary election” and therefore the reason he has decided to back Trump, I direct the Senator to my post to Mark Levin (re-posted below) who also perceives this to be a “binary election.”
One week ago I was able to use Senator Cruz’s memorable speech at the Republican Convention to make my point to Mr Levin. I believe that the content of the speech still stands as truth. The only change is that Senator Cruz abandoned that truth.
I have a great deal of respect for talk show host Mark Levin. As a lawyer, author of several outstanding books on the U.S. Constitution, cabinet advisor in the Reagan administration, chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese, secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and deputy solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Mr. Levin can claim an impressive resume which garners him respect and credibility on matters of politics and policy.
Recently, on his syndicated radio show, Mr. Levin followed through with his promise to announce, post-Labor Day, for whom he would be voting in the upcoming Presidential election. Early on, he had been a Ted Cruz supporter; but, once Cruz’s candidacy ended, Levin spent months railing against the weaknesses of both Clinton and Trump, so I was eagerly awaiting his announcement.
It came, as promised, earlier this week. Levin is voting for Donald Trump because this is a binary election. It is a rationale that, for me, is flawed.
We owe “binary thinking” to Aristotle. He was the progenitor of the concept of absolutes and dualistic thinking. Black or white…yes or no…up or down…summarized mathematically as “x” or “not “x.” (or think of it as X or Y). It was, and still is the basis for decision making in Western cultures. In fact, its where we get the word dilemma, “di” meaning two and “lemma” meaning argument or choice.
It is in the West our method of thinking; but, it is not the only method of thinking. In fact, its a very limiting approach to problem solving. It is just such an approach that has caused Mr. Levin to think there are only two choices in November, making this the “binary” election he perceives.
Nagarjuna, Hindu turned Buddhist philosopher, lived about 500 years after Aristotle. He put forth the concept of a “tetralemma.” Tetra means four and, as stated above, “lemma” means argument or choice. So in an Eastern approach to problem solving, there are four possible choices or resolutions: (1) X; (2) Y; (3) both X and Y; (4) neither X nor Y. Such an approach widens and opens up the possibilities and creative thought process for problem solving.
Back to Mr. Levin’s binary election. In the dilemma approach that Mr. Levin applied, he had two choices: X=Hilary Clinton or Y=Donald Trump. But in tetralemma problem solving we have (1) X=Hilary Clinton; (2) Y=Donald Trump; (3) =both Clinton and Trump; (4) = neither Clinton nor Trump.
Obviously number (3) is not an option. But number (4) is! Mark Levin, and every other voter who thinks that neither Hilary Clinton nor Donald Trump is fit to hold the office of the Presidency, has other options. There are other candidates running. The Libertarian, Constitutional, and Green Parties all have candidates in this race. There is a write in option as well. I know the “dilemma” knee jerk reactions. People say either (1) a vote for any of those is a wasted vote or (2) it won’t matter anyway because the Electoral College elects the President not the popular vote. Again, thank you Aristotle!
I’d like to take a broader and longer view of the problem. I’d like to look at it as something other than an absolute and from a higher perspective as well.
When Ted Cruz spoke to the Republican Convention, he angered many Republicans by suggesting that people vote their conscience. He did not explicitly endorse Donald Trump and his suggestion was interpreted as having the effect of a vote for Hilary Clinton. But Cruz was doing what we say we want in our leaders. He was standing by his conviction. He was following his conscience and suggesting others do the same. He stood with his country, and his party, but would not overtly and in good conscience endorse a man he did not believe to be fit for the office. We would all do well to listen to our own internal guidance system, which some call intuition and others call “gut”, and act in accordance with its prompting.
Further, have we not learned by now that there are as many choices in or lives as we have the courage to make? Have we not yet come to understand that media and politicians and people who lust after power want us to believe we have only the choices they put before us? Have we not yet grasped the true blessing of free will… as well as the responsibility that accompanies it and the consequences of abdicating it?
I hear only one voice publicly espousing and living the broader option. Radio host Glenn Beck has held firm in that neither Clinton nor Trump is fit for office and so he is voting otherwise. Beck is more focused upon voting his conscience than on limiting himself to what externals tell him he must do. I get that. I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 because I had an intuitive feeling that he was not what he appeared to be. Almost everyone I knew voted for him. I look back knowing I did the right thing for myself and my country. In the end, that’s all we have. Our word and our conscience. I want to be able to live with both. I suspect so does Mr. Beck.
AI and technology are teaching us, at warp speed, just how little we comprehend about reality and the limitless boundaries of human creativity and consciousness. We are on the cusp of experiencing just how literally we create our reality. And so, Mr. Levin, I already live in a world and have an understanding of the critical importance of my thoughts and my actions.
Therefore, Mr. Levin, this is not a binary election. To the contrary, it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to be the best we can be by refusing to settle for the least among us. That is the future I and others are creating and we ask you to join us in that creation.