Friday, October 24, 2008

Blue vs. Green

The Presidential Elections are just 11 days away. Don't like Republicans, but you don't like the Democrats either? Are you considering voting for a 3rd party this election - more specifically the Green Party? Here's a very thought-provoking, rational, well-articulated argument for voting Blue over Green this election season. Just food for thought - it offers a clearly defined set of angles that you may not have considered before. Check it out:

Why I'm voting for Obama (and not McKinney)

By Megan K.

If you are considering voting for McKinney (Green Party candidate) AT ALL please take the time to read this.

The 2000 election was the first Presidential election I was eligible to vote in. I voted for Ralph Nader of the Green Party. I was extremely firm in my decision to vote for him, as I was already disenchanted with the two-party system and was heavy into my activist community at the time. On election night (and the days that followed), I watched in horror as George W. Bush stole won the election, with all the politicos saying that Nader, being the 3rd party candidate, was the "spoiler" for Gore...who had been tapped in the polls as the likely winner.

Now, I won't go so far as saying that I promised I'd never vote for a 3rd party candidate again, but I learned some things that year, and when I worked in politics many years later these lessons were repeated and enforced.

The fact of the matter is, America is currently under a two-party system. And I honestly believe it shouldn't be. When we hold elections there should be many names at the top of the ticket for any number of parties. HOWEVER in order for a multi-party system to work we MUST use Instant Runoff Voting instead of plurality voting, which is what we use now. There is no other way we would be able to effectively choose political leaders in a multi-party system.

Secondly, the Green Party is, at its very essence, a grassroots movement. And as a grassroots movement, it needs to be built from the ground up. That is, it needs to gain traction on the local, city and state level before they take on the national political scene, much less the Presidency. To completely ignore your local Green party, or any Green candidate that is running for city council or the school board or mayor or state representative, and then throw your vote to the Green Presidential candidate? Sorry, but I think that's back-asswards and a waste of a vote. If you REALLY believe in the Green Party platform, you have an obligation to go out and get involved in making a strong Green Party in your city or state. (Did you know that the national Green Party is simply a network of state-level Green Parties?) Without doing so you are going against exactly what the Green Party stands for, which is revolution. Don't be an armchair activist, and ESPECIALLY don't be an armchair activist who votes for the Green Party candidate only when it comes to the Presidency. No revolution has ever been accomplished by folks taking the easy way out, and this election will be no different.

Third, if Obama loses, McCain will be President. There is absolutely, positively NO chance of McKinney winning this election. I'm sorry folks, but there's not. (Not until we build a Green Party from the ground up ... see #2). So regardless of the fact that I don't agree with Obama on ALL of the issues, I certainly agree with him more than I do McCain. The United States is about to head into another Great Depression so I want a president who knows economics and has the bipartisan appeal to get things done. Upon reading the Green Party platform you might notice that Economic Stability is last on their list of issues, after "democracy", "social justice", and "ecological sustainability". On the issue of the economy, the Green Party says "We need to restore a progressive tax structure, rather than continuing to move money toward the top echelons of society while squeezing everyone else." Know what? Obama believes that, too. But that alone is not going to fix our economic problems. The Green Party also says "Foremost, the Green Party stands for community-based economics and regional trade. We believe that the only model of true economic security is for a community and area to be largely (not entirely) self-sufficient in the production of its necessities." This theory is theory. But wow, it would be a major change from the current economic system. I mean MAJOR. Could the American economy handle such a violent shake-up of its core values if the Green Party won the Presidency?

Finally, there's the issue of a working government. Do you think if McKinney actually won the Presidency that she would be able to work with Republicans and Democrats (not to mention foreign leaders) to get things done? No, President McKinney would veto pretty much everything that Congress put in front of her and everything would have to pass back through for a 2/3 majority. So really. Think about it. The President does not create policies or laws. That's the job of Congress. And according to most polls, we'll have a Democratic majority in Congress next year. So. Democrats write the laws, the Green Party President rejects them because they go against the Green Party ideals, the bill goes back to the House and Senate for another round of voting. That seems like an awful waste of time when Congress could be passing bills that, even if they are not perfect, are better than what we've had for the last four years (not counting this year) when Republicans controlled Congress. So if there isn't a Green Party majority in Congress, what's the point of having a Green Party President? (Again, we need to work from the ground up. See #2.) the end...while it would be really great to have a president who agrees with gay marriage and indigenous peoples' rights and environmental sustainability as much as I do, I know that at this pivotal moment in history, after our country and its laws have been raped and pillaged by the republican machine, we need a president who has the bipartisan appeal to get things done. McKinney just doesn't have that appeal. And I know that if Congress tried to pass an amendment to the US constitution saying, once and for all, that marriage is between one man and one woman, Obama would veto it. And honestly? That's enough for me because there really isn't much more that a president can do about the issue of gay marriage.

I know that change will come to America, and that one day gay marriage will be legal everywhere, and the environment will be a priority, and social justice will prevail. But I also know that social change takes time, and it takes effort. Pulling the lever for McKinney is not the solution to the problems that America is currently facing.