Forget about the calming Blue waters of neo-liberalism or the imperial aggressiveness of patriotic Red. This year I have cast my ballot by mail and, for the first time in a dozen presidential elections, I have done so for a candidate with zero as a chance to win. For once in my electoral life I have voted my conscience, and refused to be conned into voting for the lesser evil in either one of the two corrupt parties which control our lives. Finally, one time when I am certain there won’t be any buyer’s remorse.
This 2012 presidential election I am proud to say that I have cast my ballot for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, to take up residency in the White House. Yes, you may color me Green, both color and political party which stand for Peace and Mother Earth, the two primordial essentials disdained by both Republicans and Democrats.
Tell me, and do not mince any words, how I have wasted my vote… tell me why I might as well not have voted at all; join the legion family and friends who in choir have already told me so and given me myriad reasons for “throwing away my vote.”
But most of these well-intended critics are factually, if not sentimentally, wrong; and I challenge them to match their inner feelings, be them in economics, social justice, or love of community, with those expressed in the platforms of either party which is deceivingly seducing their vote: a vote to continue promoting economic inequality, war and imperialism, and pseudo-individuality that rationalizes our worst prejudices, both domestically and internationally.
It is not Pollyannaish to set high standards, even when we know that we are frail and imperfect… and we are sure to fall short; but it is from these standards that we must develop our political commandments. Standards in: (1) Ecological Economies and the Curbing of Corporate power; (2) Fair and Equitable Taxation; (3) Community and Small Business (or Self-Employment) Involvement; (4) Sustainable Job Creation; (5) Economic Reform (Banking, Insurance, Anti-Trust, Pensions... also managing the National Debt); and (6) America’s eventual safe Demilitarization.
I personally took the challenge to match those inner feelings and passions within me to specifics named in the Green Party platform… issues which deal with democracy, social justice, ecological sustainability, international relations and economic justice. And, I must say, the match was incredibly close. My original plan had been to vote for a party where I could “park my vote,” a party where my ideas of democracy, economic and social justice withstood a philosophical test – for when it comes to politics, my independent streak is often too wide to accept party politics. Yet, I was able to conclude that the Green Party is a good start for an economically and socially just United States of America; perhaps just one phrase summing up those feelings and convincing me to cast my vote its way. And somewhat paraphrasing… it was that the greens make it their lofty goal to be defenders of the commons – the vast trove of wealth owned by the people, the social and tangible assets we inherit from generations past: the inheritance of the deserving many, and not just the lucky few.
It is unfortunate that civic responsibility has not sprouted at the root, local level as a stronger political movement able to nurture candidacies to congressional, state and local offices. A third party lacking pulpits from which to voice its doctrine and gain converts needs to take a critical look at its strategies and tactics to propagate its doctrine, and not just count on a marriage of convenience with some political celeb every four years (i.e. Ralph Nader in 2000, able to command 2.7% of the total vote)… to be annulled the day after election.
Perhaps this presidential post-election will see a new approach to political viability, meaningful political viability, for the Green Party cause, a lofty and worthwhile cause of justice and brotherhood. Of course, it would be helpful to find a billionaire Gaius Maecenas, a patron not of the arts but of honest politics, who would be ready to fund, no strings attached, an able voluntarism aiming to garner 44+ seats in the 2015 House of Representatives, a small but meaningful presence to negotiate America’s return to democracy.
Now you know why I am not considering my vote a wasted vote. It’s just a democratic baby step in my fight to seat 44 Greens in the 2014 Congressional Elections.
© 2012 Ben Tanosborn
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