Saturday, September 08, 2007

Benefits of avoiding national stories

I'm still trying to wean myself from national Green Party concerns. Frankly, my readership here and elsewhere is not large enough to have any national impact, and most folks don't seem too much concerned about losing my voice on such topics. :-)

The benefits of doing so, however, are apparent to me even when I'm not looking specifically for a national story. As an example, Joshua Franks reads the Green Party's obituary, with loads of replies from Greens and others. He then goes on to cast aspersions on one group of Greens while supporting another. That column is here

The thing that Franks, those responding to him, and I have not addressed is this: The national Green Party and it's Presidential ticket are of less importance than a new chapter, a locally elected City Council person, or pretty much anything local.

It's not so much that I don't care as that I feel ineffective doing anything national.

Perhaps we Greens should begin with these two concepts:

Elect as many Greens as possible running for local offices.

Elect as many Greens as possible to partisan offices.

Only once we have elected a decent number of good Greens to state legislature can we expect to be able to elect more than the very occasional Green member of Congress. Only once dozens of city and county council people are elected in an area will the rank-and-file voter be able to see us as electable. Only once we have served, and served well, at the local level will we be able to have a level playing field with dems and repubs at the state or national level.

So, the option for so many of us seems to be, get something done at the local level, or spin your wheels on national stuff.
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It's ironic (?) that one of the points a comment to Franks' post brought up was a lack of long term focus/strategy.

In your post you bring up one of the best answers to this problem. Elect as many Greens to office as possible at the local level, and then the state level.

It is still my opinion, however, that a Presidential ticket, and candidates for national office are needed. If done properly it could act as a compliment to, rather than a drain on, local and state election support and fund raising.

I feel that debate, even heated debate can be a good thing. But when debate ends and cut-throat, mud slinging begins, you not only lose interest from potential supporters, you risk driving away some of the Green Party members you already have.

Kimberly Wilder:

Hey, Greg. I am somewhat sorry to see you stop posting about national stuff. I think there are so few voices talking about green stuff, the more the merrier.

I think that you are really wrong about the presidential. Though, the key is in what you do find important: Success in local races.

The real value of the presidential race is that it helps recruit greens FOR the local activity that is important. Americans just don't get "electoral politics" anymore. It is not exciting.

But, the presidential race captures people's imaginations. It helps attract new people to the cause. And, petitioning for president teaches people how to petition for local candidates.

So, if you think that electing local candidates is important, then you have to support a strong, visible, presidential race. The presidential race pumps things up.


Forgot the word I was saving to use:

The presidential race is "glamorous."

One of our local green leaders always reminds us that we got amazing numbers of new recruits during the Nader campaigns. Because that was exciting and glamorous. If nothing else, we have to run a presidential to reach out to people who care about politics, but don't yet realize that they do have to start locally as well.
Greg thanks so much for putting the focus back on local politics and basic party building. That's where the winners are and that's where the future of this party rests for better or for worse. This fascination with the presidential circus every 4 years is in direct contradiction to the key value of grassroots democracy as well. It's been 7 years since 2000. Let's stop living in the past. Everything positive and promising I can see going on in the Green Party is local.
Such a great article which The thing that Franks, those responding to him, and It have not addressed is this: The national Green Party and it's Presidential ticket are of less importance than a new chapter, a locally elected City Council person, or pretty much anything local.Thanks for sharing this article.
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