Why I'm Voting for Jill Stein

SUBHEAD: The goal of achieving 5% of the popular vote for the Green Party and Jill Stein is tangible and achievable.

By Joe Giambrone on 29 October 2012 for OpEd News -

Image above: Jill Stein before arrest protesting Keystone Pipeline clear cutting. From (http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/green-party-presidential-nominee-arrested-texas-assisting-keystone-xl-protesters.html).

[IB Editor's note: There are many who think voting for a candidate with no chance of winning is a waste and possibly worse. This could be argued was the case in 2000 when Gore "lost" by a few hundred "chads" in Florida, while Ralph Nader gathered many of the progressive votes. In toss-up critical states this can be argued to be self destructive to progressives. However, instates like Hawaii, California and New York such a case id hard to maintain. Vote with your heart as well as your mind.]

The Greens are the best hope today in the US for advancing a progressive, sane, legal and ethical agenda. Voting for the Green Party has a tangible goal and benefit, a benchmark to strive for: 5% of the vote.

David Cobb, a Green Party leader, laid out the Party's 2012 election strategy:
a) Receive 5% of the popular vote to qualify for 2016 FEC matching funds
b) Qualify (or maintain) state ballot lines wherever possible
c) Assist local candidates earn media, attract volunteers and GET ELECTED
d) Convince voters to join the Green Party (register Green where possible, and to actively participate in local GP efforts)

This is a strategy to build over the long term. That is the best that conscientious Americans can hope for today. Build over the long term by simply registering Green Party and encouraging your circles to do the same. It doesn't cost you a dime, and it doesn't affect any election at all, but it is a strong symbolic act that builds the party one citizen at a time. It also sends an unequivocal message that delegitimizes the mainstream corporate parties. Without legitimacy, they are far easier targets.

We all know America has a completely fucked-up electoral system. Voting Green Party is one sane, rational response to this abominable situation, which makes logical sense and remains one of the few legal remedies to a government out of control and acting beyond the Constitution and rule of law generally.

The plutocrats and their lackeys in office will not restrain themselves. They don't have to. The only real solution is to replace their functionaries in a populist, democratic upsurge.

The Occupy Movement can send a clear message, in language politicians understand, by registering Green Party and showing up on Election Day to disturb the entrenched powers. They may not win, but they will move the ball just a little bit farther down the field. If one is willing to risk arrest, hypothermia, beatings and tear gas -- why not risk a tick on a ballot line? Or a registration form to add your voice to the Green Party's rolls?

Occupiers should know that Jill Stein and her vice-presidential nominee Cheri Honkala were arrested outside the second Obama/Romney debate and treated like common criminals. Greens have been placed on "no-fly lists" and harassed for opposing the sham democracy entrenched in Washington DC. They are probably under FBI surveillance as well.

The goal of achieving 5% of the popular vote for the Green Party and Jill Stein is tangible and achievable. Most people in the United States live in uncontested states. As the corporate/fascist news harps on about "swing states," most Americans do not live in these states. What about them? What about their votes?

If you live in a state such as California, which is not a "swing state" but firmly in Obama's column, then casting a vote for Romney or Obama is the definition of a "wasted vote." Your vote will not and cannot affect anything. Contrarily, a vote for the Green Party may push that party over the 5% threshold allowing it to qualify for millions of dollars in Federal Election Commission matching funds in the next election cycle. These millions can be used to wake up a much more significant portion of the populace. This scenario is what Democrats fear the most, and they resort to absurd anti-democratic arguments to try and coerce voters into voting for their war criminal in chief.

Earl Ofari Hutchison has warned of the "Naderizing" of Obama and called out "Nader apologists" to atone for their alleged sins and to vote his way. Discarding the actual theft of Florida in 2000 by Jeb Bush and company, which Greg Palast covered for BBC but the US news pointedly ignored, Hutchinson lies about how and why the 2000 election went to Bush. Hutchinson blatantly attempts to delegitimize the existence of third parties in a recent undemocratic and blinded piece of propaganda that should disgust almost every American.

Further disgust should register as a man of integrity, Ralph Nader, who fought for consumer safety and accountability in government for decades, is scapegoated while the documented disenfranchisement of "up to 91,000 voters" from the Florida voting rolls in 2000 is ignored as if it never happened. Further, the counting of the 2000 ballots was illegally stopped in a kangaroo court ruling that effectively ended American democracy. The problems of the US voting system are now so flagrant that Palast counted up "5,220,576 legitimate votes and voters tossed out of the count" in the last presidential election, 2008.

Independent third-party candidates were censored out of the duopoly debates, of course, as is the norm in the "land of the free." However, an independent debate did occur over at FreeAndEqual.org, where you can catch the replay online. A second debate between Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian frontman Gary Johnson will occur on Tuesday, October 30th, at 9pm EST/6pm PST. It will be broadcast on various independent outlets such as RT America (Russia Today), RT.com, and on Youtube via the Free and Equal website.

I'm not sure how self-described "progressives" expect real change to occur when they vote for the same old imperial / Wall Street shills time and time again. Obama has proven himself -- to Wall Street -- and after raising more than $700,000,000.00 in 2008, Obama is set to top $1Bn this term, having already cashed checks for "$988 million" (Chicago Tribune, 10.25.12). That kind of money buys a lot of immunity from prosecution. It installs people like Geithner and Summers in the top financial spots of his administration. It buys a lot more war, too. Their money, your vote. Whom do you think is represented more in this equation?

I've suggested to Green Party members how to more quickly increase their numbers and build momentum. This strategy is in line with David Cobb's priorities to make the party a legitimate alternative to corporate/elite-sponsored fascism, over the long haul. Let's hope Americans agree and wipe the sleep out of their eyes, turn off their X-Boxes, look up from tapping on their phones about nothing, and smell the collapse all around them. Further, let's hope they decide to do the right thing. Support the alternative you want to see, not the criminals who claim to have you by the balls. Grow a backbone, for God's sake. It's about more than Election Day; it's about every other day in between. You're going to have to work for it if you want to reverse a decline this severe, this dangerous, this overtly unlawful and steeped in fanciful myths about ourselves and our place in the world.

I'm voting Green and FOR Jill Stein, which is a bit of a luxury living in California where a vote for the others wouldn't matter in the slightest. In a swing state, I would probably have to recalculate my tactics, knowing that these are simply tactics. I might even just consider expatriation more seriously (I love you, Iceland, and your brand new Constitution). I would, however, register in the party that represents me best and encourage others to do likewise. Anything else is betrayal, a betrayal of conscience, of values, of one's own ethics. Make your presence matter and reject the elite's call for obedient sheeple. That's not you. You're better than that. This nation is better than that.

• Joe Giambrone is a filmmaker and author of Hell of a Deal. He edits The Political Film Blog, which welcomes well-written submissions and features articles from over 60 fine writers. Reach him at: polfilmblog at gmail.

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