“The Green Party is no longer the alternative, the Green Party is the imperative”
~ Rosa Clemente
Don’t have much time right now. I have to get down to the board of elections and change my party affiliation.
After being Democrat for my whole voting life, I’m going to the Green Party. Yeah, I know. I can hear you now, telling me I’m wasting my time, money and especially my vote on a tiny little third party which has no chance in the upcoming election and is barely acknowledged by the media and not noticed at all by the two ruling parties. Yeah, if Obama loses this November, I’ll be partly to blame because I, and others like me, took votes away from Obama that might have made the difference. Heard it all, thought about it all. But I’m changing and so should you. It’s time. You know why ?
courtesy of media.photobucket.com
1) I’m tired of compromise. No matter how good a president or politician may be, they all have to compromise, they all have to operate with more than principle at stake. We have a President who’s great on domestic policy, but is continuing many of the same policies of the Bush administration (when we closing Guantonomo, Mr. President?). Yeah, he made all sorts of great promises, but we got to be “practical” (so much nastiness can be hidden behind that word) about how the world really works. So the drones fly, the bankers profit, the world moves on.
2) I have to start somewhere. Every four years we get folks complaining about their choices in the political world and saying “We need a third party”. Then even if they start to support one (always for President) their candidate loses and they give up. Until four years later, maybe. As Ralph Nader has pointed out: starting a third party isn’t a matter of just working for a few months and getting a President. It’s a long term process, starting at the grass roots and working for years.
Electing a dog catcher here, a member of the board of education there. Eventually, over years and years of work, you begin to influence the national level. But we start at the local level because that’s where we all live and have the most influence and get the most effect.
There is no quick fix or quick satisfaction. If we buy into the “waste your vote” cliche, then no third party will ever arise, no new choices will ever be offered, no really new vision will ever be available. This is the only way it’ll get done: a new party will come from the grassroots up, becoming ubiquitous over time, becoming an assumed part of the political world we deal with day-to-day. First dog catcher, county sheriff, eventually state rep, someday, President.
3) It’s time for me to walk my talk. I’m tired of cynicism. I believe in what the Greens stand for. I really care about politics and how our world is run and the people to whom we give power. I think principle and the beliefs of our politicians matter, and so I want to support a party which is about clear and specific principles. I have long been drawn Green vision of the environment, grassroots democracy, respect for diversity, economic justice and gender equity. (Come on, Ecotopia !), but have never really taken the step because i wanted to be “realistic” and “practical” (sins for which I will answer, I’m sure). Well, looking at the mess we’re facing now, one man fighting entrenched power (not enough) one man busily selling his soul to entrenched power, (the concept of the Illuminati might not be radical enough) impracticality and idealism is looking pretty good. Just wish I’d strapped on a pair years ago when I had more energy.
4) It’s time to focus on what really matters in the present, not the past. So much of the vision of our two ruling parties is still insufficiently global and insufficiently local and insufficiently 21st century. We have long faced issues of environment, diversity and economic equity (just to start) which for our rulers are still secondary issues. I want a party for whom the rights of indigenous and minorities is central, the rights of women, issues of health care, questions of economic and ecological sustainability and population, not just who gets what part of the pie. Both our ruling parties are stuck in the past, when it was a different world. We are becoming a vast community and must see ourselves as such, not simply US vs. THEM. It’s a time of the increasing importance of diversity: cultural, racial, sexual, political, philosophical, and time to give up the attitude that we’re the boss and it’s our job to push everyone around. The world has moved on: economically, socially, technologically, it’s time American politics did as well.
5) It’s time to reboot. When you have a computer program or OS that’s old and been in place a long time, it gathers old apps, sub-programs, routines, etc. that were once useful, but are no longer, which got picked up along the way, that got buried under the latest update and now only take up space and slow things down. You have to stop at some point and reboot your system, clean it up and get a fresh start. That time is now. The fact that we can still, in 2012, have one party questioning women’s right to birth control and trying to gain points by painting their opponent as some sort of OTHER (“He’s not one of us !!”) means we’re still running Windows 3.1 when the world needs Mountain Lion.
6) It’s time to stop playing someone else’s game. I admire and voted for President Obama. I think he’s a fine man and a class act. But I also see the extent to which he has to play the cards he’s dealt and the extent to which he’s accepted the given structure as unavoidable. The given power structure of business, money, banks, cronyism, obviously hinders him, but he’s also accepted much of this structure as a given. His opponent is the tool of that same structure. A structure we never really voted for, a structure we got by default and which all too many of us assume we’re stuck with. I don’t want to see my vote and the power of American politics playing someone else’s game.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.”–Mahatma Ghandi–
7) It’s time to wake up. A minority of Americans vote. Many of them because they don’t see any real choice, so what’s the point ? Thomas Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Well, as a society we’ve given up on eternal vigilance. It costs too much and we think we have more important things to do. We, each of us, have to learn that we will get the rulers we deserve and if our attitude about politics is to “leave it to the professionals” (what else is a republic?) and just grouse about it over our beer, then we have no right to whine. I am going to earn the right to whine. Being an American means having a big responsibility: to work at the building of our polity every day. Any dictatorship (large or small, Sith or well-meaning) will gladly take that burden off our hands so we don’t miss the next episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” But if we truly want to live out the heritage for which men and women have died, it’s time to wake up and get to work. Not just every four years, but all the time.
So will we see a strong Green Party ? Green reps in Congress and on School Boards and maybe in the White House ? Not in my life time, but if more people aren’t willing to walk the talk, never. But if I work, if you work, if others work, maybe our grandkids will work in a different political world.
So. I’m putting my shoulder to the wheel and that wheel is Green.
How about you ?