17 October 2014

There is one block of as yet undecided swing voters at this late date. For those of us on the left, both independent and affiliated Greens who are still thinking hard about our vote, consider these themes on why greens should support Kerry, followed by the nature of their benefit to greens:

1. The Federal Communications Commission: enlightened self-interest. Under the Michael Powell regime at the FCC, media concentration has gotten more and more conglomeratized. How will we get our message out to the masses that aren't lucky enough to blog, know about CommonDreams.org, hear progressive radio, have an alternative newsweekly of substance, or subscribe to Utne Reader? In 1990 before the environmental movement got somewhat co-opted in a wave of corporate greenwash, the resurgence of Earth Day made some of us believe that the 90s were going to be the global environmental decade. Poll after poll shows the environment to be a real priority for a majority of Americans, yet this is political power as yet untapped. Who Kerry appoints next to the FCC will affect greatly how free the media is in this darkening hour of threatened democracy, and hence how effective we are about getting out our greater green message.

2. Kerry's environmental record: practical and ecological. Here at least the Senator obviously gets it. His lifetime League of Conservation Voting record is 90%, tied with Dennis Kucinich's! He is solidly anti-nuclear, is going to put $15 billion into hydrogen fuel research, opposes opening up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, will restore toxic waste site clean up, stop the Bush wholesale liquidation of our last remnant roadless ancient forests (down to 4% and counting), and will appoint people like, well, perhaps, you and me to the myriad of positions in the federal environmental infrastructure. Remember when Clinton appointed a wildlife biologist to head the Forest Service, and the first thing he said was to admonish the FS to finally "tell the truth"? Plus, Kerry actually spends time in nature. And, he and Edwards have hybrid SUVs on order for when the roll out next year. Symbolic, yeah, but where Kerry shoots a goose, Bush paves over the wetland it used to live on.

3. Ashcroft: more self-interest. Brrr. Do we need to say much more? How can Greens organize if we can't even get on an airplane? Think Cointelpro. Think wiretaps. Think how the government might be tracking your reading this right now. Think how the good people of Missouri had the sense in 2000 to elect a dead man for Senate over Ashcroft. Don't think, it's illegal, subversive. Political parties require an intact constitution to give the electorate power to organize. God only knows what will conspire between Messrs. Ashcroft, Bush, Rove, and Bin Laden in a second Bush term to shred what's left of our alleged democracy.

4. Global Perspective: ethical and strategic. For every one of us in the belly of the beast able to at least try to vote crusader Bush out of office, there are 99 people in the world with empty bellies and bombed out villages praying for us to do so for their sake, and quickly. What right do we have to turn our vote into a mere political statement in the face of the great harm that Bush and co. are wreaking on the planet and her people? Forget the intellectual exercise of our debate, and remember the face of an Iraqi father digging his dead child out of the rubble from bombs dropped on the order of the man we might let stay in office. Sorry to play hardball with your heart.

5. Geopolitical: moral. The mere presence of Kerry in the White House will immediately cause the rest of the civilized world to breath a sigh of relief and get on with the business of healing the global village. Mature nations of Europe will get onboard and reduce the American imperial footprint on Iraq. This allows the Iraqis the dignity to rebuild themselves with the help of traditional Arabic allies like France, who after their own imperial disaster in Algeria learned how to be good neighbors with the Muslim world, unlike you know who. It is no coincidence that the ailing Yassir Arafat has been flown to a top French military teaching hospital outside Paris. And, Kerry doesn't even have to open his mouth for this to happen. All that is needed is a picture of Bush’s backside in the doorway of Air Force One on January 20th, and peace has the best potential to break out all over the world since that same date four dark years ago when the greatest theft in history was institutionalized.

6. Future Leverage: strategic. A green vote for Kerry, harnessed by the power of the participatory democracy of the Internet, becomes valuable political capital for future negotiations with, and demands of, a Kerry administration. If they meet some of our requests, in their self-interest they gain future continued support from our highly educated, organized, politically savvy voter bloc. No, Nader will not get a cabinet seat, wouldn't want one. But Eliot Spitzer for Attorney General, for instance? The NY State AG has aggressively gone after corporate malfesence, imprisoning thieving executives, and even (gasp) revoking a corporation's charter. Imagine, a death sentence for corporations that commit capital crimes. Spitzer has been stumping for the Senator, and representatives of the Green Democratic Alliance (.org) have already made such a request to senior Kerry advisors. This is but one example of many possibilities. In Germany the strategic and philosophic maturation of the Green Party into ruling coalition partners has resulted in an end to nuclear power, sustainability as a national guiding principle in future economic development, and fervent and principled opposition to the US’s imperial ambitions. In the time following the election, the GDA’s website (http://www.GreenDemocraticAlliance.org) will compile a registry of greens who voted for Kerry so as to provide numerical clout to our influence on the Kerry transition team and ability to deliver electoral votes, as we did with the Greens For Gore Coalition in Oregon in 2000. Stayed tuned to Oregon, where we are building bold new models of green political ascendancy. More articulations akin to these arguments can be found at www.GreensForKerry.org, www.GreensForImpact.org, and VotePair.org.

7. Showing we greens are aware of male and white privilege (and giving it up): strategic and ethical. Many supporters of Nader's 2000 campaign were criticized for being oblivious to the fact that they were as a group rather unrepresentative of the very disenfranchised minority groups they wished to defend. Black voters fighting the blatant racist tactics of Jeb and George in Florida, Arab-Americans imprisoned indefinitely without charge, all do not have the luxury of a protest vote. And how many Bush Supreme Court appointments away are we from women going back to dying in back alleys from botched coat hanger illegal abortions? And how are we going to build a broad green political movement by alienating such obvious and crucial allies?

8. Tereza Heinz Kerry: all of the above. Need I say more? Talk about getting it. Intelligent, global, feminist, she makes Hilary Rodham Clinton look like a cookie mom, almost. Her articulate speech in Boston convinced a friend of ours, a no-bs leftist feminist woman who is intimately involved with Central American torture survivors and has no love of the ruling elite of either stripe, to say: "If that's who John Kerry goes to bed with each night, I'll vote for him."

9. Stopping the 24-year Reagan-Bush-Bush coup: ethical and moral. Since that Reagan inaugural hour that the Iranians cynically released the embassy hostages in 1980, which later was revealed to be the fruit of a deal to sell them weapons by Ollie North, to the further Iran-Contra skullduggery (that prosecutorially bent Kerry courageously investigated in the Senate BCCI hearings), to the shameless fraud of Florida 2000 and whatever Machiavellian machinations Karl Rove is cooking up in his lair this very moment, we the people have been held captive by the most anti-democratic forces ever to threaten our republic. Ever. How can we reward them by giving even a bit of numerical edge to their evil plot? Not to mention where it all began: W's grandfather Prescott Bush, whose portrait leers over the Oval Office, was not only censured by Congress in the 30's for financially supporting no less than Adolph Hitler, but some of the Bush family fortune came from their financial interests in industries using slave labor in concentration camps. Don't believe me, take a look at www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0925-01.htm ; you will get even more paranoid.

10. Preventing thermonuclear war: benefit obvious. Read that again. Under the Bush administration, the Pentagon has revived planning for limited tactical nuclear warfare. But whose limits? Nuke Fallujah, and the outraged Muslim street will oust American puppet Musharraf in Pakistan and elevate their savior Bin Laden to power. Imagine, Bin Laden at the helm of a state with nuclear missiles. The survivors of WW3 will wax nostalgic for the gentle restrained days of the Cold War. As bellicose and militaristic as Kerry is in his sadly necessary political appeal to the broad middle, as a veteran soberly aware of what war really looks like up close and personal, he will not let the nuclear genie out of the bottle. How can we not do everything within our power to stop the insanity of Bush and Cheney's “War Without End”?

11. Ok, a bonus. Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Negroponte, all go back home or to prison or whatever spider hole they crawled out of. Imagine Bush in The Hague in a cell next to Milosovic's. Imagine the party in the streets of America when we oust these scoundrels. Imagine having a chance to negotiate real green political power with the liberal senator from Massachusetts, intelligently grateful and well aware that a last minute charge from the green left provably tipped the crucial balance and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Imagine a world without the leadership of George W. Bush. You may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

Don St.Clair (don@greendemocraticalliance.org) is cofounder and executive director of the Green Democratic Alliance based in Eugene, Oregon.