Time to Go Green
An Endorsement of Dr. Jill Stein for President
So it’s all over. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was sabotaged into hopelessness, and all indications now are that he will be a “good Democrat,” stop the anti-oligarchist attacks on Hillary, and “do everything he can” to make sure a Republican isn’t elected. Yes, I supported him. Hell, I voted for Obama the first go-round, too. Since the sixties, when I was a young radical, I have known that the two-party duopoly serves the same interests, and more often than not, over the years, I went third party instead of falling for the “lesser of two evils” fear tactic. But I was always a little torn. After all, even small differences can have a large impact on the lives of vulnerable people. Take the Supreme Court, the example most conflicted progressives cite to justify the postponement of their ideals for one more election.
In 2000, I voted for Nader. Then the Bush Coup became apparent, we had “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, Al Gore subsequently moved to the left (not the first Democratic candidate to seemingly snap out of a political coma once the election was over and lost), and I questioned my decision. When Obama ran, I wanted to believe. I mean, electing the first African American President surely would at least send a symbolic message, and here was someone who had not only been a community organizer, but had worked with Bill Ayers, for God sake. So I suspended my belief that any viable candidate who claimed to want to qualitatively change the system would either be a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a dead duck. And, like ol’ Bill Clinton before him, a once idealistic young man showed that, somewhere along the way, he had sold out. We have had the most secretive Administration in history, the most deportations, drones, military expansion, secret wars and black sites, trade deals, renewal of the Patriot Act, little but lip service for the poor, minorities or the environment, and a sell-out to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries after a closed door meeting no sooner than he had moved his furniture in.
And that should have done it. It should have confirmed everything I kind of knew that I really knew. But then Bernie Sanders comes along. He’s a socialist. His record seems reasonably clean, although not unblemished by what could have been some bad but honest decisions. And that long-awaited third wave of a student movement, the descendants of the children of the sixties, and, to a lesser extent, the eighties, starts to emerge from the disconnect and apathy. So once again, let’s play ball on the home field of the plutocracy. As of this writing, I don’t know, and we may never know, whether Bernie was the real deal or a smokescreen. Regardless, now his campaign is on life support, yet his young followers want to keep “Bernie or Bust” alive, confusing a cult of personality with a movement of principle. Some will write him in, ignoring the fact that some states don’t allow the practice, and the reality that if so many votes for a candidate actually on the ballot can be taken away one can only imagine how many write-in votes would merely be discarded. Some want him to run as an independent, which he won’t do, but even if he did, perhaps in the event that the Republicans split, too, what would we be left with after his inevitable loss?
Some will succumb to the fear, yet again, and fall in line with the Democratic National Committee. But how can a former Sanders supporter vote for someone: who is for the death penalty, traveled with her husband to watch the execution of a severely mentally disabled man, and helped architect a criminal justice reform initiative that has devastated inner city, minority communities; who supported the war in Iraq, was instrumental in the expansion in Afghanistan and regime change in Libya, and now wants a no-fly zone in Syria, setting up a confrontation with Russia; who has raked in millions from Wall Street and other national and international financial powers, has refused to release the transcripts of her closed door speeches for which she was paid hundreds of thousands, and despite her claims to the contrary, was clearly influenced by these donations, whether it be the flip-flop on the bankruptcy bill for credit card companies that Elizabeth Warren exposed or her aggressive promotion of fracking here and around the world; who built her career working for a segregationist, was not above playing the race card not once but four times during the contentious South Carolina primary against Obama, and referred to inner city youth as “superpredators” then and engages in raised-voice confrontations with instead of listening to African American activists today; who pretends to be a champion of LGBT rights yet opposed same-sex marriage until polls moved in their favor, pretends to be a champion of women but who got a slap on the wrist for the rapist of a twelve year old girl by lying that she had made false accusations before and putting the girl’s sexual fantasies on trial (and then laughing about it in a later interview), and pretends to be a champion of children but argued that Latin American children who successfully escaped their dangerous and impoverished countries (thanks in large part to American intervention) should be sent back to “send a message”; who has flip-flopped on every single issue, from the environment to criminal justice to foreign policy to trade to deregulation to guns, etc.; who is a pathological liar, who claimed to have ducked sniper fire in Bosnia until (and even after) footage showed her strolling down the tarmac in the bright sunshine greeting children, who claimed to have always supported the $15 minimum wage even though in previous debate she quite specifically argued against it, and who claimed that most of those emails still hanging over her head, and ours, were communication with her husband even though it’s well known that he doesn’t use email; and who has, in conspiracy with the DNC and her own massive machine, stolen this primary through voter suppression and mysterious party reaffiliations, hidden ballots and illegal campaigning, and SuperPacs and superdelegates.
Some will even vote for Trump, for various reasons whose logic I am still working on, but, nonetheless, a calculation I believe to be morally repugnant, given his history of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, ruthless and failed business practices, ignorance, incitement of violence, statements in support of torture and the killing of family members of suspected terrorists, and positions that would shred the Constitution and lay the groundwork for fascism. So that leaves us with one constructive option: voting for Dr. Jill Stein and building the Green Party as an alternative to the two-party trap, one that already has a framework and ballot access, a progressive platform stronger and more consistent than Bernie’s, and no baggage requiring future ethical dilemmas. No, she won’t win, but it’s about long-term building so that we might have what other, more democratic nations have, a real choice of parties and positions. If we keep voting for “the lesser of the two evils,” then we shouldn’t be surprised that we continue to end up with evil. If we keep giving into short-term fear, then we have no long-term hope. We survived “The Reagan Revolution.” We survived “The Bush Coup.” I suspect we would even survive “The Trump Reality Show.” We would fight back against it, but, as compelling as the argument that little differences matter may be, there is the counter-argument that it’s only when we stop masking the system that it is exposed for what it really is.
So the hell with the DNC, Hillary Clinton and “politics as usual.” I hereby renounce my enrollment in the Democratic Party, I have ordered my Jill Stein button, I have just discovered a Green Party chapter in Suffolk County, and you will be reading all about the campaign here and around social media.