Sunday, January 14, 2007

What now? Green Politics in a time of Democratic majority.

Hit the "Read more!" link below to read my YC Magazine column on the impact of the Democratic majority in both houses of congress, and the best way to respond to it.

What now?

Most of us don’t vote. I believe most of us don’t trust politicians. Many of us believe that politics is not about public service. Many of us have decided that politics is about getting power and influence, and using it for personal gain. All of us have seen politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, being taken to court for abuse of power.

The Congress is in Democratic hands. Many voters are about to be deeply disappointed. Republican control of all three branches of government did not bring the Christian Right many of the things they were promised. Many who voted Democratic in hopes of ending the war on Iraq are in for a rude awakening. Voters who believe the USA PATRIOT Act is bad for our democracy are going to be disappointed. So too are voters who want less government, smaller deficits, responsible environmental policies or a sustainable economy.

Many Christian Conservatives have decided that their efforts on behalf of the Republican Party were not effective. Tax breaks for the wealthy were first, second, and last on the national Republican agenda. Precious little energy was left for the demands of the voters who sent them to Washington. Promises broken are not quickly forgotten, despite what you’ve been told. These voters don’t turn into Democratic voters. They turn into non-voters.

Do you hope a Democratic controlled congress will repeal the Bush tax cuts for the very rich? Don’t count on it. The same interests who paid to elect Republicans to do their bidding paid for Democratic campaigns. While you only have one vote to cast, those with fat wallets can spread their dollars across a broad range of candidates, sometimes giving to several different candidates in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.

So, if the Democrats are going to disappoint us, and the Republicans already have disappointed us, what is the best alternative? For many of us the decision is to leave the fight to others. We become non-voters.

There is an alternative to politics-as-usual. There are options other than giving up. There are ways to connect with other people who share your disgust with the Republican and Democratic parties. The best way to connect with others who believe in peace, justice, ecology and democracy is to join a political party dedicated to these values. The Green Party is that party. Think about it. Whether you like Ralph Nader or not, he is one of the most trusted and admired people in America. He choose to run for President twice with the Greens, and that alone gives many of us a good reason to take a look. Nader doesn’t waste his time on worthless projects. Just like you and me, he wants his work to mean something.

So, what now? Do we sit back and watch as the County Council gives away tax dollars? Do we sit by as nuclear power plants spread across a state already awash in radioactive projects? Do we give in and allow the county’s next hospital to be built by a company with a questionable corporate culture? Do we watch as land developers convert York County into “Sprawl Central”? Do we give up on parks and recreational opportunities for our children? Do we watch as North Carolina steals water from the Catawba River to promote growth? Or, do we find ways to fight back, little by little, to take control of our lives and communities?

Greens have made the decision to take the bull by the horns and demand our rights as Americans. We are not willing to sit and watch. We have families and communities top protect from those politicians who only care about cash and power. We’re doing what we can. Your votes are a powerful statement for change. Your help between elections is even more vital. Remember, Democrats and Republicans use their parties as clubs to re-elect one another. For Greens it’s not about winning alone, but about effective government which treats us all fairly and listens to the people’s voice. If these are your values, you know where to find us.
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You're point about what goes on between elections is important. There is a dynamic
in the green party where some say we're
activists and others say we're electoral. In fact, we're both. We are moving forward in a difficult situation with running candidates; Steny Hoyer needs to watch his back. But we
are also many activists doing more than just
running candidates. The running candiates part is something we all do together, but being activists is not something that we do entirely separately either. There is much
cross-fertilization that happens because there is a party structure present.
You couldn't be more right, which is sad. So many times I have been forced to vote for a democrat simply to keep a republican out of office.

The Dems won't deliver, they can't. The Dems are as much of the problem in Washington as the Republicans.

Time for a Green revolution.
Ralph Nader is not a Green. That's why the Greens sabotaged him in 04. While working on Nader's ballot access in CA and WY, I saw some of the most evil dirty tricks against Nader come from the Greens. The Greens used Nader to attract voters like me, folks who support financially and with participation. I will support Nader. Not the Greens. Not after what you did to him. How about coughing up some bucks to help him repay the law suit in PN?
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