Why I am Voting for Jill Stein

I saw a disturbing Tweet recently that said that although Congress has a 10% approval rating, 90% will be re-elected.  Even when our government officials are not re-elected, the person chosen as a replacement is often a Coke vs. Pepsi alternative (or as George Carlin aptly put it, “the illusion of a choice”). Our democracy is truly in a state of disrepair. Last week Conan O’Brien joked that the presidential race is neck and neck between people voting for “not Barack Obama” and “not Mitt Romney.” This is the best we can do? Two unsatisfactory candidates spending $500 million (!?!) on television and radio ads to convince us the other one is worse?

As Ralph Nader says in the (must see) video below, voting for the lesser of two evils inevitably results in both parties getting continually worse. And by voting for these candidates we are giving them permission to to do things that were not acceptable in years past. The biggest problem of voting for the lesser evil is that there is no end game. It is extremely short-sighted as well. Here’s a news flash for you: four years from now there will be another Republican running for President! She or he will have a very similar platform to Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. The democratic candidate will have capitulated even further to the right. When does it end??

Some people are now thinking, yes, but there are fundamental differences between these two candidates. Those differences are the illusion in the “illusion of choice.” Now, here are some of the similarities between President Obama and what many think of as right-wing conservatism:

As a Shambhala Buddhist, I find it impossible to vote for a president who has done these things.  President Obama is a war criminal who is bombing and killing innocent women and children with drone planes that have not been voted on or approved by anyone.

. The NDAA program that President Obama signed into law is unconscionable.

Many people still say that the alternative is too ugly to comprehend. The alternative is not too ugly to comprehend. The alternative is too much of the same to continue to participate in this charade. We have this illusion of a choice where half of the country thinks that if Mitt Romney gets elected the world is going to end and the other half  think if President Obama gets re-elected the world is going to end. We just had the worst president ever for eight years and the world didn’t end. The most damaging aspect of George Bush’s presidency was that he continued the deregulation trend started in the early 80’s by Ronald Reagan (See: Drift), and the two wars he started. President Obama continued both of those things and now the banks are more powerful than they ever have been and he, at one point, had tripled the size of the Afghanistan war.

Clearly, one of the biggest problems with our “democratic” process is the issue of campaign financing. As corporations, through continued deregulation, the corporate personhood ruling, and the aforementioned acceptance of the new status quo, are buying candidates and elections we move further and further from a representative government. The idea, of course, of a representative government is that the people elect officials that represent their best interests. Today, the officials represent the interests of the corporations who pay them to vote how they want to.  Republicans and Democrats take bribes from corporations, oil companies, defense contractors, etc. Jill Stein and the Green Party refuse to accept any money from corporations.

Either of the two major party candidates will continue to do whatever Wall St. tells them to do. There is no choice really. The Republicans & Democrats are two sides of the same railroad flattened penny. To keep going back and forth between Republicans & Democrats is to buy the false premise that we have a choice that’s going to make any substantive difference while Wall St. exacerbates their out-of-control power. The only way out is to get rid of this whole broken system. To pick President Obama or Mitt Romney is to continue, and participate, in this debacle.

Alternatively, Jill Stein and the Green Party have a platform and message that I can fully support. There is not a single point in her Green New Deal plan that I can disagree with. Here are some of the bullet points (that you won’t find on a Democrat or Republican party platform):

  • Enact the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 25 million green jobs in sustainable energy, mass transit, sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing, as well as social work, teaching, and and other service jobs.
  • Renegotiate NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements that export American jobs, depress wages, and undermine the sovereign right of Americans and citizens of other countries to control their own economy.
  • Provide full protection for workplace rights, including the right to a safe workplace and the right to organize a union without fear of firing or reprisal by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
  • Reduce the budget deficit by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
  • Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.
  • Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail,” starting with Bank of America.
  • End bailouts for the financial elite and use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.
  • Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.
  • Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.
  • Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college, thus eliminating the student debt crisis.
  • Forgive existing student debt.
  • Protect our public school systems from privatization
  • Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program.
  • Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, fair trade practices, etc.
  • Create a binding international treaty to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels deemed safe by scientific analysis to reduce global warming.
  • Phase out coal power plants to end their unacceptable harm to the climate, health and the economy.
  • Issue an Executive Order prohibiting Federal agencies from conspiring with local police to infringe upon right of assembly and peaceful protest.
  • Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
  • Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that gives the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.
  • Oppose the Online Piracy Act and all other legislation that would undermine freedom and equality on the Internet.
  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment to forever end discrimination based on gender.
  • Eliminate the doctrine of corporate personhood with a constitutional amendment to clarify that only human beings have constitutional rights.
  • Implement marriage equality nationwide to end discrimination against same-sex couples.
  • Enact the full Voter’s Bill of Rights guaranteeing each person’s right to vote, the right to have our votes counted on hand-marked paper ballots, and the right to vote within systems that give each vote meaning.
  • Abolish the electoral college and directly elect the President.
  • Reverse the Citizens United ruling to revoke corporate personhood, and amend our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech.
  • Cut the bloated Pentagon budget by 50%.
  • Close some 140 U.S. military bases abroad.
  • Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
  • End the ineffective and costly War on Drugs and begin to treat drug use as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.
  • Issue an Executive Order prohibiting Federal agencies from conspiring with local police to infringe upon right of assembly and peaceful protest.

It is true that Jill Stein will not win the presidency in 2012. But, perhaps she would have a chance if people had been participating in more political dialogue and voting for the best candidates in recent elections. As it is, hopefully there will be a substantial enough turnout for Dr. Stein to bring her and the Green Party into more people’s awareness.

Wouldn’t it be great if Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama were all in a competitive race with no electoral college? Then there could be an actual national discussion of issues and people could have a real choice at the polls. This existence of a viable alternative would also help to make the two major party candidates more accountable for all of their bullshit and would also likely force them to scale back some of their most extreme and harmful positions and policies.

We can’t wait to be involved with our political process until before presidential elections every four years. For Shambhalians reading this, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has been saying that we need to be well informed in current trends in our society, so that we may help it.  The discernment and clarity being cultivated in our practice has the purpose of being of benefit to others. I do not feel that, considering all of the information that I have been exposed to, voting for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is in the best interest of an Enlightened Society.

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3 thoughts on “Why I am Voting for Jill Stein

  1. Jill is the only one that can lead us out of the box canyon that we’ve been herded into, and dispense with the fascist warmongering nest that has become such a weight to the entire planet, that its national security state will leave it a burned out cinder if not squelched.

    Wheather unwittingly, or otherwise, Obama has turned out to be such a tool. I was listening to the last debate provided by Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, allowing us to hear both Jill and Rocky Anderson. It’s a real toss up between the two, but whenever the two boot lickers, ObamaRomney chimed in my stomach would just churn with every single response that fell from their self-serving yappers.

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