Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why would I ever want to vote Green?

While I'd guess that more of my readers are sympathetic to Greens rather than Libertarians, my friends and readers cover a wide political spectrum, and my hope in this series of posts is to demonstrate the issues that each of the parties, in my mind, demonstrates constructive and positive leadership with.

Now, I don't identify as Green, or as a representative member of ANY party. I have a number of concerns about many Green policies and beliefs. Folks seemed to have trouble understanding that I don't feel well-represented by any party when I wrote my last post, I'm sorry you had trouble understanding that, but it was pretty clear both in that post and in this blog in general, if you haven't gotten the message I respectfully submit that perhaps you are just not listening. In both this and the previous post, I'm listing those issues which pull me toward a particular party, regardless of the issues that mitigate that support. Kapish?

When I see Republicans and Democrats working together to eliminate competition, I want to vote Green, for their leadership in promoting proportional representation.

When I remember the roll call of people who voted against the Patriot Act, and think about the harm it's done to our civil liberties, I want to vote Green, for their consistent opposition to that Act.

When I look at children being raised by same-sex partners denied the protections that would come to them if their parents were allowed to marry, and remember that the Green Party is the only notably sized party to include marriage equality in its platform, I want to vote Green.

When I see the consistent giveaways of federally-owned natural resources, I want to vote Green to support their use. Yes, the natural resources "owned by the government", gas, oil, timber, minerals, yes, many of those will need to be used, but to work "well" in the context of a capitalistic framework it's critical that the indirect, environmental and opportunity costs involved in resource extraction be modeled in determining appropriate royalties. Ditto grazing fees, etc.

When pufferfish (toxins intact) get sold as food, and thousands of pets die from poisons in the pet food supply, the Green party's pre-crisis support for agricultural regionalization looks forward-thinking and attractive.

And when I remember the words of JFK, that the "gross national product":

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product...if we should judge American by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968.

...and reading those words, when I recognize that the Green Party is the only party I'm aware of that specifically recognizes that "economic growth measured by GDP" is not the only thing in life that we should necessarily optimize for, well, voting Green sure sounds, even if only for a moment, like a damn fine idea.


serene said...

I'm proud to have worked on the campaign to get the Green Party on the California ballot, lo these many years ago. I've been a Green Party member since you could be one, but I've also seen the sausage made, as it were, so I'm not deluded that it's a perfect party.

Joe said...

You should be proud. Trying to get a party going from the ground up is hard and often thankless work, thank you!

J. E. Patterson said...

I agree with pretty much all of these sentiments, which I why I identify as a Green even if I can't often vote for a Green candidate. I was immensely irritated when they ran Nader for president, but they seem to have recovered from that, mostly. I am pleased to see Green candidates at the local level here in Seattle, since it seems to me that getting a viable third party presence is going to need to come roots up rather than top down