"Because you can't hug a tree if you can't find one."

10/11/2008

The Case for Third Party Candidates

My friend from the Green Party called me out the other day for letting the Democrats off the hook too easily. Here is what he had to say in the comments to my last post:

Rejin, I'm glad you brought up this Sarah Palin lunacy. The problem is that Joe Biden is hardly any better.

I'm sick of the way the pundits, including most bloggers, are discussing the Vice President candidates' debate. It is so energy-sucking to read even intelligent comments about the debate, because they're mostly about form: Who won? Who will the American people think won? Who was able to parry the other's tricks?

We've turned politics into Family Feud, where you have to guess what you think others are guessing about what others have guessed.

So Joe Biden is never really taken to task on his actual legislative record. He has "experience," but experience doing what? He can "walk across the aisle" to work with Republicans .... But no one asked him, on what?

No one challenges him on his crucial defense of the credit card companies, and how this feeds into the current debt crisis.

No one challenges him on his support for The War On Drugs -- and all that means for the huge incarceration rate in the U.S. (What is it, now, 2.5 million actually in prison at any given time, and twice that figure in the courts, on probation or parole?)

No one challenges him on his and Obama's statements concerning the "Surge" in Iraq -- a euphemism for a large expansion of the war; or on his quotes supporting Bush around WMDs in Iraq; or of his proud support for bombing the hell out of Yugoslavia under the pretext of "defending Kosovo."

No one challenges him (or Palin) on their statements in favor of "Clean Coal" -- as if such a thing is possible without serious environmental calamity; carbon-trading and offsets, and why their support for such schemes is just a free-market way of destroying the earth and letting them get away with it; genetic engineering of agriculture; liquid coal, stored under the ground and polluting drinking water; agro-fuels, exported from countries whose people are starving but who have turned their lands into cash-crops for SUVs elsewhere; mass use of pesticides; nuclear power plants, which they both support -- oh, my god, that's their solution? That's what's in store for us? As the saying goes: "Better active today than radioactive tomorrow."

and, No one challenges either of them on their support for the $700 billion bailout of billionaires on Wall Street, except to ask, "What programs will you have to cut as a result?" Why not provide immediate relief to those facing foreclosure or eviction, instead of to the banks foreclosing them, evicting them? And, what about forcing open the corporate books for all to review, if they're going to be bailed out by our tax dollars?

On the other hand, if I hear Sarah Palin use the word "Maverick" one more time, I'm gonna call up James Garner and ask him what he, the original t.v. "Maverick", thinks about McCain stealing his alter-ego (Rockford files be damned).

Parry ... thrust; thrust ... parry. Instead of worrying so much about "what will play for the American people" -- who, I think, are far far far more intelligent than liberal New Yawkers give'm credit for (people don't know what to do, we feel impotent, helpless, blown about by forces beyond our control or influence and so lamely grab onto any straw that's offered) -- how about focusing on the substance, on the policies being argued, and forcing the candidates to go into depth on them? (I know, that's why Palin and the Republicans wanted each answer limited to 1.5 minutes; imagine if she had to keep repeating the word "Maverick" for 3 minutes at a clip!)

The way punditry works is to comment on how one thinks the comments would play on others. Hey, what are we, chopped tofu? What about what we want?

I'm sick of the Meta-Comments -- comments about how other comments might play, regardless of their content. It's all a big game -- What's the score!? -- Place yer bets, now!

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens / Green Party

My reply was that I plan to vote for McKinney and the Green Party, but rather than fight with people who feel it is urgent to vote Obama to (once again) keep the Republicans out of the White House, I have just been raising questions about the democrats and letting people come to their own conclusions. Too many people are satisfied with having more choices when buying deodorant than when choosing a presidential candidate. Is that what living in a "free" country is about?

I like the way Duncable framed the case for voting for third party candidates in his comment to the Alternet post following the October 2 debate:
I'm done voting against someone, because that's not how the system should work. If there were no 3rd party candidates, I wouldn't vote at all, so I'm not throwing my vote away. I'm exercising the basic rights that I ought to be guaranteed in a "democratic" society, not bending to the will of the collective conscious of this terrified and spineless nation.

2 comments:

The Pigeon Project said...

BRAVO! I'm hoping to see not only a 3rd but a 4th, 5th, and 6th...as necessary!

Rejin/Urban Botany said...

I agree, Pigeon. We need a broadened political dialogue.