Jill Stein. Photo: Washington Post
“Fear of Donald Trump is not enough for me to support Clinton with her record of corruption.” —Susan Sarandon
It takes someone like Sarandon, who backs Jill Stein, to make the phrase sink in. In these times of political decay, greed, contempt from our ruling elite and enough indifference in the masses, the only thing the democrats have to offer their base is the fear of a Trump presidency. Clinton is not courting people’s vote, she expects it. Here’s a list of her positions: pro-war, pro-fracking, pro-Monsanto, supports unconditional military aid to Israel, is against the $15 an hour minimum wage, against the legalization of marijuana, opposes the labeling of GMOs and the breakup of big banks, opposes a climate treaty, has no position on the Dakota Access Pipeline, and on and on and on.
Never in my life did I imagine two major candidates like Trump and Clinton. One with a huge sense of entitlement, and next to her, Trump, sounding like a populist. The other two candidates (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson) were not allowed in the debates and have been all but shut out of the electorate process. Many of Sanders’ backers are now behind Stein, including Sarandon, Dr. Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Medea Benjamin, among others. It is time the voters broke from the two party hold and refuse to merely walk in line behind their party candidates.
On the democratic side, no more voting out of fear, it’s time to vote one’s conscience. People who do not support or who dare to criticize Hillary Clinton are sometimes accused of not wanting a woman president or are told that a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump, à la Nader in 2000. The main accusation against Nader is that Gore lost the election because of him. Never mind that this is false. And regarding gender, it’s the last thing many think when they think of Hillary. Thatcher was a woman and she committed plenty of destruction.
The democrats would not be in this current predicament if they weren’t ruling with a sense of entitlement. If the Clinton machine had not stolen the primary from Sanders, Sanders would be coasting through to the White House. As it is, we have the most hated and unpopular candidate in history running against a buffoon. Like Julian Assange so well put it, “Do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea?” Well, like him, we should not favor either one. If at least 5% of the popular vote goes to the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, she will make a difference and the major parties will stop taking people’s votes for granted. The “if you don’t vote for Hillary, it’s a vote for Trump”notion is steeped in the liberal tradition of bed-wetting and faulty identity politics.The democrats are asking people to vote for the candidate who embodies a broken system. A person with ties to every corporate interest from big banks to oil and Wall Street. If Stein gets 5% of the vote, the Green Party will get millions of dollars in matching funds in 2020 and these voters will be part of the political conversation in the next presidential elections.
When we have CNN saying that reading Hillary’s email from Wikileaks is illegal, corporate news has reached its nadir. Or when people say that a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump, clearly we should be waking up to the realization that this country’s democracy is a mirage. Clinton’s people are trying to put the fear in people (especially young people) to vote for her, yet she does nothing to get their votes.
It’s propaganda that Stein is against vaccinations, that she is not qualified, that she isn’t experienced enough to lead this country. Casting a ballot for this failing two-party system is a squandered vote.
What can we find in the Green Party platform? A Green New Deal. One that, among other things, will cut the Pentagon’s budget, will get rid of the Jewish state of Israel, will call for another investigation into 9/11, will get rid of the electoral college and renegotiate world trade deals, stop climate change-the biggest threat to humanity, create 20 million jobs in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, restore our ecosystems, invest in public transit, provide free education from pre-school to university, make employment a right, provide a living wage, abolish mass incarceration and mass deportation, and other things that should be our rights, not mere dreams. Stein is trying to tap into the “unlikely” voters: millennials, students, poor and working class folks, immigrants, people of color, those that are not normally represented by the establishment.
If Stein and Baraka get 5% of the popular vote it will give the Green Party official national recognition and federal funding from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in the 2020 presidential race with anywhere from $8 to $10 million. Plus, it will give them ballot access in several states that grant ballot ranking if a presidential candidate gets 1 to 5 percent of the vote (depending on each state). This proposes a challenge to the two-party system that is presently ruled by corporations. People need to build a progressive movement and if it doesn’t start this year, then we will indeed get the candidate we deserve.
Leticia Cortez is a teacher, writer, and activist. She was born in Mexico and grew up in Chicago. She travels the art world, both in her imagination and in her music, book, art and film reviews. She writes political essays, short stories and poetry. Presently she teaches Latin American Literature and English at St. Augustine College.