Monday, November 13, 2006

What's wrong with Green?

I had sent to some of my cousins the comment from the previous posting about being a registered Green because I felt the Religious Right had pulled the G.O.P. so far to the right that the Democrats were now in the middle. This cousin said that they felt "Greens" were just progressive Democrats, that ours is a two-party system, and that we are weakening the Democratic position by carving out a third party.

I have thought and thought about how to respond to this, and this is it:

The point about weakening the Democratic position is well taken, as far as stealing votes from a candidate who might otherwise beat the Republican. As for me, I've guarded against that in every election, including participating in the vote trade when Nader was running, such that my vote for Nader didn't cost Kerry or Gore any votes because they were so far ahead in our state, whereas Green votes in some other areas may have prevented the Democrat from winning. I was angry at Ralph Nader for not pulling out of the election when it would have made a Democratic win almost inevitable and would have kept Bush from prolonging the agony.

Otherwise, I really feel that the Religious Right really has dragged political issues so far to the right that some things need to be done to pull them back to the left. I feel that the Democrats won't go far enough in terms of global warming and other environmental concerns, especially since the Bush administration has forced our nation to take big steps backwards in this regard.

When I closed the curtain to vote, there was a Democratic line and a Republican line, but there was also Conservative, Working Families, Libertarian, Green, and a couple others. These are the parties that push issues where Democratic and Republicans don't dare, for fear of alienating the "middle" voters and losing a "winning position". A friend says this is where political "research and development" are done. These are the parties that reflect societal changes and sometimes replace the previously dominant parties. There are third parties in lots of other countries, and there have been third parties here since at least the time of the war between the sections.

Nowadays, Barry Goldwater is considered to have been liberal. But most "Liberals" in Congress were afraid to vote against authorization for the Iraq debacle, and have been afraid to speak out for abortion rights and other issues, for fear of alienating voters whom they have presumed to be in the majority. People of faith who don't follow the fundamentalist crowd have kept silent for fear of being called heretical or non-Christian, allowing those who speak most loudly to monopolize the public media, instead of demonstrating who are the true followers of Christ. It seems to me that those who profess most loudly that they are the true apostles are the ones whose actions least resemble the founder of their faith. Truly patriotic citizens have kept quiet because it has been in vogue to simply wave a flag (which is the very least one can do to "support the troops"), instead of demonstrating real patriotism by standing up for the ideals, such as a balance of powers and the separation of church and state, which are the ones that truly set this nation apart from others.

So I hold to my position that things have shifted too far to the right, that we needn't be limited to two parties, and that Greens (aka progressive Democrats) can fill that role as needed. I am a Green because my ideals match the platform pretty well, but I know I'll often have to settle for a Democratic reality, which will do. As long as we don't have to put up with any more of Little Schickelgruber's draconian tyranny.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

State of the Union?

To elect is to choose. Many Americans elected representatives recently. Now the challenge is for those elected to discern what message Americans really sent them. The resident of the White House (whom I like to call Little Shickelgruber) tried to downplay the results by saying that there were many very close elections that went the Democrat's way, but that the cumulative effect was big, but certainly no mandate. Ironic, since I've heard that there are now more Democratic governors than any other time in history, there is the largest Democratic majority in history, and so on. Sounds like a mandate to me.

A friend who happens to be Republican was telling me before the election that he was disgusted with both parties' corruption, and that the G.O.P. was right and the Democrats left and neither one represented most people. I told him I had a different perspective: that the Religious Right and Neo-Conservatives had pulled the G.O.P. so far to the right that the Democrats were in the middle. I told him I didn't want our nation to go any further to the right, and that's why I'm a registered Green. I think radical change is needed, but I expect I'll have to settle for less. I hope for more, and will do what I can to make it happen.

A friend of mine who helped found the Environmental Studies program at Alfred University more than thirty years ago, is involved with an organization that is trying to move things so that corporations don't have more rights than people. They -- the Program on Corporate Law and Democracy -- found that, over the last century and a half, corporations -- by various means -- have gained greater legal status than plain ordinary people -- the general public. In our earliest days as a nation, states granted charters to businesses, and those charters could be revoked if a corporation did something to displease the people of the state. Nowadays, municipal governments have gained the power to seize land for corporate development. That just ain't right, if you ask me.

I recently was introduced to the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and one of the items in their agenda is a social responsibility amendment to our constitution which would provide for citizen panels to judge whether corporations were being sufficiently socially responsible, with the power to revoke charters of deficient corporations.

It was perhaps good to hear Little Shickelgruber say that he would work with the Democrats, but I don't trust it. Not from a man who said years ago that he was a "uniter, not a divider" and promptly took actions that caused divisions not only in our nation but in others. Not from a man who only used the worst terrorist attack on American soil as an excuse to do something that he had planned to do all along. Not from the man who spent a record surplus fuelling a war machine in a nation that didn't want our interference so now we have record deficits, yet he accuses Democrats of wanting to raise taxes. Not from the man who stopped funding for "No Child Left Behind" so he could give the money to his good-buddy contractors in Iraq.

A cousin of ours is an accomplished writer and teacher who has submitted her musings to the local weekly paper for some time, but she wrote a "final column" recently in which she said she thought her musings about birds and pleasantries was not so important. She said we all needed to get busy with changing things for the better. I will miss her column because although she dealt with everyday things, she often added a profundity that made them matter. Anyway, I hope this sort of writing will contribute to what she was talking about.

About Me

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I've been a number of things over the years: husband, father, environmental technical specialist, college instructor, carpenter, volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, student of Lakota and Japanese languages, technical writer, process engineer, research technician, IT technician, emergency dispatcher, etc.