Why I’m voting for Jill Stein

On Tuesday, I’m voting for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the Green Party candidates for President and Vice President.

Why not President Obama? A few reasons have to do with him and his policies: I’m very unhappy with parts of his foreign policy, specifically the almost indiscriminate use of drones in countries in which we are not at war, the continued use of extraordinary rendition, and the claimed right to kill American citizens without judicial review. I’m also quite unhappy with the way that he has stonewalled on and ignored climate change. On the other hand, he has certainly done some good things. He is one of our better presidents, no doubt.

I could go on for pages about what I don’t like about Mitt Romney, but it mostly comes down to: I don’t trust him. Not one bit. A Romney administration would be an unmitigated disaster for this country, perhaps even worse than our worst president in modern times, George W. Bush. Bush had values – the wrong values, for sure, but values. Romney has no values. He will say whatever he thinks will get him votes. He presented himself as more conservative than he probably really is in order to compete for convention votes against right wing Republican candidates. And now he is presenting himself as more liberal than he really is because he know that most Americans would not vote for a right winger.

So why am I not voting for Obama?

Our two party system is broken, and it is broken beyond repair. It is not that I don’t think there is any difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. I used to explain my view of the difference as: the Democrats intended to do the right thing, but screwed it up; the Republicans never intended to the right thing. But that was before the Republican’s sharp turn to the right. I now see the the Republican Party as morally bankrupt, and criminal. If it were up to me, the party would be disbanded, for crimes against humanity, which they have not only committed but are proud of.

But we as a society will never make forward progress until we reject the idea of only two parties. The two party system serves to highlight small differences while ignoring important issues. Climate change is an example. Romney is a climate denier, so Obama has become a climate silencer. Both are wrong, wrong, wrong. Climate change is the biggest issue of our time, not because there are not many other issues of great importance, but because if we don’t act on climate change now, there won’t be a future in which to solve those other problems. No, we won’t go extinct, but we will go into a long and painful period of decline in which we are likely to lose most of the things we’ve gained, in wisdom and justice and lifespan and happiness.

To be honest, I’ve not been involved in supporting Jill Stein. I’ve been busy with non-election issues. But I’ve read everything on the Green Party platform, and Jill and Cheri’s ideas, and I so far have found almost nothing that does not match my values. I used to call myself a flaming liberal, but more to the point, I’m a progressive. I’m a person who thinks that the duty of government and citizens is to support all of us, not just a select few, and to work continuously to make our lives better and yet sustainable, so that it is not just our lives that are better, but all the lives down through the generations.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are beholden to corporations for support, and really, for setting the agenda. And it is primarily corporations that are creating the climate crisis. Not that we don’t all have a hand in it, including me, but the corporations are leading us in exactly the wrong direction, working with the puppet strings to not only insure that problems are not addressed, but to insure that things will get worse and that the money with which we might address those problems is in the pockets of the superrich and not with the government or the rest of us. It all connects.

So, would I vote for Jill Stein even if I knew it was my vote which threw the election to Romney. Yes, I would. Of course, that isn’t the case because California and its electoral votes will go to Obama not matter what I vote, but even if it were the case, I’d still vote for Jill Stein. The choice is between a fast decline under Romney, a slow decline under Obama, and a slow and complex rise under Jill Stein.

Do I think Jill Stein has any chance of winning? No. But a strong vote for her will leave the Green Party in a strong position to take a more prominent role in the next election cycle. That is the good I am hoping for, the change I can believe in.

So, yes, my vote goes to Jill Stein and the Green Party.

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