The Green Party of the United States held their Presidential Nominating Convention July 11-15 in Baltimore. Dr. Jill Stein was chosen as nominee for president and Cheri Honkala as nominee for vice president.
There was very little news coverage of this convention; therefore, probably very few people are even aware of this third party effort. This was my first time attending the national convention.
I was impressed with the various workshops and policy discussions I attended. However, what pleased me the most was the opportunity to meet Green Party supporters from across the country, from Maine to Hawaii. I was also encouraged in hearing about communities around the country where the Green Party is a significant influence in their local politics and local government.
I would guess that when most people see or hear anything about the Green Party, phrases such as 'Save the Whales" or Tree Hugger" come to mind. Actually, the Green Party promotes much more than environmental issues.
To be clear, the following comments are based on my interpretation of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party, not as an official spokesperson for the Party. Without going into a complete description of each of these values, I will highlight the concepts that were important to my decision to register Green Party.
First is the general belief that we should have respect for all individuals. Allowing everyone the opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society regardless of our differences. We should also be promoting not only improved personal well-being but also individual responsibility.
I also believe in the power from, and need for, local action in influencing the direction of our society. That means active grassroots democracy with increased public participation at every level of government.
We support local economic development that includes independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises. Without discouraging the opportunity for increased competitive efficiencies possible with size, or the technical innovations possible with increased resources, we encourage actions to limit the possibility of organizations getting "too big to fail." We also must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. Not actively opposing economic growth but making the quality of life the focus of our actions and future thinking.
Basically, my belief is that limits are not detrimental to our freedom, but actually are important to protecting our freedom. Neither unrestricted government nor unrestricted business is in the best interest of our country.
At this point in time, when the two major parties, the party of big government and the party of big business battle to protect their own special interests, I think the Green Party represents the average citizen that contributes his/her time and effort to the everyday activities that make a community. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, "The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens."
Rod Rogers is a county legislator and Forestville resident.