What was democracy again? Is it that you can choose between chicken and pork? Personally, I wouldn’t want either. And no, that’s not democracy. Unfortunately, it has been called the latter for way too long. The country which once lead the world into a new era and likes to bring “democracy” to countries in trouble proofs us again and again that they haven’t quite understood the concept themselves. But maybe that is over now. “There is change in the air, voting for the lesser of two evils just doesn’t cut it anymore”, a comment on Grist says very nicely. Hope also comes from the interview with Jill Stein green presidential candidate for the upcoming elections to which the comment was given.
Why vote green?
In the end it comes down to the same old question: do you vote for the underdog or the worse of two evil? Do you vote with your heart or with your mind calculating the probabilities. The Green Party in Canada – led by Elisabeth May, yet another strong green woman – explains it nicely: “One of the big obstacles that the Green Party will face in the next election is that of the strategic voters. Those people who share our values and agree with our policies, but who are swayed by the scare tactics of the big parties that claim “If you don’t vote for us, then THEY will get in!” as they point their fingers at the other big parties.” The Canadians argue, however, that a green vote is not a lost vote. It means giving the big parties one less vote. If many do so this turns into a big message. There might not be enough green votes but “every vote cast for the Green Party sends a message that Green values and policies are important.”
What is different this year, however, is that people all over the world are saying: “enough!”. They do not want pseudo-democracy anymore. Dreaming is allowed this year. “That’s true, for the environmental movement, the student movement, the antiwar movement, health-care-as-a-human-right movement — you put us all together, we have the potential for a Tahrir Square type event, and [to] turn the White House into a Green House in November”, Jill Stein says. Oh and she adds: “not just the treehuggers, but also the postindustrial, desperately poor urban communities”.
What is her idea for the future of the land of freedom? She supports a green new deal which personally I see as much more interesting than the green economy everyone is talking about these days. “These jobs [of the new green economy] would be community-based, living-wage, full-time jobs, and would basically run the spectrum of jobs that make communities sustainable — clean manufacturing, local organic agriculture, public transportation, energy-efficient as well as active transportation, and of course clean renewable energy, conservation, weatherization, efficiency.” I find the following speech inspiring and a nice way to get to know Jill Stein.
Green parties and environmental driven politicians are slowly getting into power around the globe. There is, of course, a big spectrum of what green means. So you better find out what a party really stands for. The Green Party in the US for example says: “The Green Party does not accept donations from corporations. Individual citizen support and grassroots democracy are the foundation of the Green Party. Big-money interests cannot buy their way into the party.” This kind of information is important but generally, there are some shared values within the green parties which Anthony Giddens describes in his book the Politics of Climate Change as following: “ecological wisdom (ecological harmony or equilibrium), social justice, participatory democracy and non-violence, with two others added: sustainability and respect for diversity.”
The United States are a good example of the choices we have and what we call “democracy” but the situation looks similar in many countries. It is time for us to choose what we really want, time to dream. “Choosing the lesser of two evils, is still choosing evil” says Jerry Garcia, think about it.