Hillary Clinton is now officially the Democratic nominee for President, and the Party is beginning the road to unity once again. However, there are still some who are disenchanted with the primary results and plan to vote for Jill Stein and her Green Party this November. Not only will these people throw away their vote, but they will help contribute to what prevented Al Gore from taking office and allowing the Decider-in-Chief, George W. Bush, to push our country into debt and a war we should not have entered.
I am a proud Democrat, but I am also a strong critic of our two-party system. I love our federal system of government but wonder what it would look like if we had a more vocal libertarian faction, a more organized labor party, and yes, a strong green party. But in order for these voices to have a seat at the table they need to gain legitimacy for themselves on the ground. Currently, the Green Party holds zero seats in the United States Senate, zero seats in the House of Representatives, zero governorships, and zero seats in any state legislature. The party needs to stop only running candidates for the highest office in the land, and first prove they can win elections on the state and local level.
In all seriousness, the Green Party platform is actually perfectly suited for state and local change, concentrating heavily on environmental science and social justice. What better way to effect change is there change than running for the school board in West Virginia to ensure the children of coal miners are exposed to environmental science? There is none. Is there a better way to improve police and community relations than electing a sheriff who acknowledges the problems in the criminal justice system and trains her deputies accordingly? No, there isn’t. While it is true that our federal representatives can and should do more to fix these problems, we as citizens also have local governments and agencies that are in place to enact direct change. The Green Party’s refusal to acknowledge these institutions is essentially preventing the legitimization of their national platform.
Although the Green Party has refused to target these types of positions that can have a real impact, their current presidential candidate claims on her facebook page that “It’s In Our Hands.” Well, it’s not. The Green Party has nothing in their hands. They control nothing and therefore can change nothing. Their party mentality is that of a casual, apathetic voter, emerging every four years but neglecting midterm and special elections.
Furthermore, Dr. Jill Stein’s goals are unrealistic and some are flat out misinformed. The Green Party, and Stein herself, market themselves as the champions of clean energy but Dr. Stein seems unwilling to put forth a viable plan to see that happen in my lifetime, let alone hers. She has proposed that by 2030, the United States will operate on 100 percent clean energy, but opposes the use of nuclear power at all. I hate to break it to Dr. Stein but nuclear power is currently the most reliable zero-carbon form of energy the world has. It is a necessary tool we have at our disposal to help ensure our planet’s survival.
Then there is Dr. Stein’s odd position on GMOs. GMOs have been proven by scientists (the same people who believe in global warming) to be perfectly safe. In fact, Bill Nye (the science guy), once an opponent of GMOs, has realized after extensive studies that he was incorrect and GMOs are just a part of the evolutionary process. Dr. Stein, as a physician, should know better.
Perhaps even more unsettling are Dr. Stein latest comments on the current state of vaccinations. While she did retract her warning to the American people that there are a lot of “snake oils” out there, she seems to be misinformed on how vaccines and other medications actually become FDA approved. Dr. Stein seems content on using buzz words and, dare I say it, scare tactics, claiming that drug lobbyists have too much power and have essentially delegitimize our regulatory agencies, but this is simply not the case.
The fact of the matter is that while it is true that there is too much money in politics, especially from pharmaceutical companies, most of the research dealing with drugs is conducted by both academic and medical institutions. Say what you will about lobbyists’ influence on Congress, but surely our academic institutions can be trusted on giving unbiased opinions to our regulatory agencies. The FDA was put in place to act independently of Congress to ensure only the best quality of goods would reach the American consumer. The last time the American people elected individuals who discredited our regulatory agencies, as well as widely accepted scientific research, we ended up with a Congress filled with climate change deniers. Let’s not make that mistake again.
When it comes to foreign policy, Stein is also extremely unprepared. She wants to slash the military budget in half and close 700 bases around the world. Though I admit that the military budget is too high, cutting it in half is not the proper solution and is furthermore completely unrealistic.
Closing 700 military bases would also be unwise for a very simple reason; they are home to many civilian contractors and closing those bases would eliminate thousands of American jobs around the world. In addition, these bases are centers of cultural exchange where American ideals meet different and exciting ways of life. The United States cannot afford to lose any advantage we have when it comes to the free exchange of ideas, and these military bases provide a perfect hotbed for this to happen. But in the end, it all comes down to national security. The United States needs these bases around the world to prevent the interruption of the flow of information both back to Washington as well as to our allies around the globe. If we are to defeat tyranny on a global level, we need to continue to be present in any nation that not only shares our goals but also invites us to stay.
Jill Stein is correct that we need to divert a large portion of that money to taking care of our veterans, building roads, and increasing the quality of our education, but slashing our military budget in half is unlikely since control of the budget rests with Congress, and the Greens have been unable to even gain a single seat there.
This November, I urge anyone thinking of voting Green to reconsider and to think of the future of our nation. Consider how casting a vote for Ralph Nader in 2000 ironically prevented the most outspoken environmentalist from sitting in the Oval Office. Instead of a president that would have given us at least four years to jump start our move towards clean energy we got eight years of economic deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, a war based on false intelligence, and the largest financial crisis since the great depression. If you support the Green Party’s ideas, then come out during midterm and special elections to see if the they are running any candidates for city council, school board, or sheriff. In order to break the two-party system, change needs to be made on the local level and rise through our federal system. We are past the age of trickle down government and now in the stage of bottom up empowerment. This November, please vote blue so that one day, you can vote green.