Fine. I’ll Vote.
In 2008 I canvased for the Democratic Party. By comparison, this electoral year I’ve been little less than present. This is due, partially, to my geography. I was following the French elections intensely for the weeks proceeding Hollande’s inauguration, which left little time to check NYtimes.com on a daily basis for the latest on the Romney vs. Obama front.
Yet the French elections have been decided for over a month now. Where am I? In truth: disenchanted. A jaded lover. Obama seduced me marvelously the first go-around, and I still remember his talking points as admirable ambitions. Unfortunately, what he said and what he’s done with my vote… c’est pas pareil. He’s proven himself malleable in the hands of les grands entreprises, fondant, easily dispersed and rendered ineffective. (Please, people, our power lies in concentration. Not in appeasement.) I’d the uncomfortable sense of betrayal, especially regarding environmental and energy policies. (Uncanny similarities in Obama’s and Cheney’s energy independence strategies are detailed here.) Given my other option, I seriously considered ignoring the elections completely this year and reveling in my ex-pat status.
Fortunately, cette petite idée wasn’t on the table long. Are my options only, really, Romney or President Obama?
The truth of the matter is, yes, in a way, if I’m to take without question, major media coverage. Here’s an unfortunate connection: those candidates granted press time are not there for free. By what magic a particular candidate finds the public’s eye can be best visualized as a trick in Mr. Monopoly’s top hat. (From my brief stint in a journalism program, I learned that major media is actually quite claustrophobic. Concentrated. With Midas money.)
The golden gods do not like Jill Stein. Who is this? Someone running for president? Why yes, and here’s something else: she has my vote. Dear reader, if you’ve been with me for awhile, you might remember my post circa summer of 2008 when I listed why I was voting for Obama. A major component of this list was headed, “I Dream in Solar Panels.” Environmentally conscious energy remains a major issue for me, as we are living, after all, in an era of unprecedented consumption. (For some visualizations of this consumption, I encourage you look at Chris Jordan’s photography and This Is Not Sustainable.) Energy is not only high in demand, the vast majority is toxic. Jill Stein, who is a physician as well, points out that cleaner energy models are not only an economic necessity, but has direct implications upon public health.
It’s imperative we understand that humanity cannot expect healthy, fruitful lives on a crippled land. We are of this world. Furthermore, the same cost-reducing incentives that have companies fracking have them growing wheat and cows in a juicy chemical smorgasbord. There has been little to no chemical oversight (as most are protected as “patents” and “intellectual property”) and the public has more or less let this slide since the reincarnation of agent orange as a pesticide since poison never looks very threatening. For all we know of this Iocane voodoo, we do know that it’s odorless and tasteless. (Yes. Please cue Battle of Wits from Princess Bride ’80s babies.)
I’m over it. I’m over this violence. So I went looking up one of the few political parties that takes our environment seriously: The Green Party. I’m lifting the following from Stein’s People’s State of the Union:
What we usually call “the environment” is really another word for Mother Nature’s economy. A business model that destroys our forests, our fisheries, our topsoil, our water supplies, our health, and our climate – is a business model that will inevitably collapse upon itself. And an economy that is addicted to ever-increasing supplies of oil is not only doomed, it is a national security disaster just waiting to happen.
The Green Party is inevitably bound and tied to greener environment = healthier economy, and is it ever. The future lies in renewables. The countries most able to realize this with be the most puissant. This sector has the potential to create entirely new markets, with jobs that demand less physical peril and more intellectual effort.
Additionally, Stein is willing to give local contingents the ability to act as best suits what faces the immediate community. The key here is that she would like to decentralize. Being a localist myself (and this is something that I adore about France: their pride in the immediate community) I’m excited to see a candidate who doesn’t pretend that Washington can possibly oversee the success of each and every city in the union. (On New-Deal-esque job creation):
Full Employment Program will create 16 million jobs through a community-based direct employment initiative that will be nationally funded, locally controlled, and democratically protected against conflicts of interest…This program will not be run from Washington D.C.. Our job in Washington will be limited to insuring that you have a say in how this program runs. Local communities will be responsible for putting this jobs program into practice through a process of broad community input and democratic decision…
A local focus not only reconnects us, as citizens, to our community, it gives us more economic freedom. I won’t get on my don’t-shop-at-Walmart soapbox here, but this initiative follows similar logic: if money rests with the community, that community has a future. Raise your hand if you want a future.
(Fighting temptation to make a pun about Dr. Stein healing what ails you. Just opened a bottle of wine.)
Salut. Here’s to you… and to breaking up the famously undemocratic two-party system.