by Eli Beckerman
(Swans - February 26, 2007) Dear Cindy,
I am writing to you out of pain, and out of hope.
I am writing out of appreciation, and I am writing to ask of you a great sacrifice. You have already sacrificed more than can be asked of most, but you have continued to put yourself out there and I am hopeful you will not stop until you see justice done.
I am writing to ask you to run for the 2008 Green Party nomination for president of the United States. As the game of presidential politics has already reached a mad frenzy, it is clear that an early voice for sanity -- for peace, for people, and for the planet -- is needed. As we saw in 2004, having peace candidates run in the Democratic primaries was not enough. Too many fellow activists fell asleep as they saw visions of the antiwar Howard Dean with front-runner status in the primaries. Too many fellow Greens became enchanted with the wise and inspiring words of Dennis Kucinich, only to see the few delegates he did win strong-armed into supporting John Kerry for some sham sense of party unity. Not again.
The Greens have been shut out of too many debates, vilified for too many failings of the Democrats, and stepped on too many times by those in power. Our perspective on the political climate is unique, and it is needed now more than ever. It goes well beyond a critique of the Republican and Democratic subordination to corporate power, and actually offers a positive alternative vision. It transcends the typical left-right divides and refuses to fit into some simplistic spectrum. It connects the dots between profit-driven environmental destruction, profit-driven wars, and the lives these misguided adventures affect. It connects the depletion of natural resources, and the transformation of those resources into accumulations of wealth, to the need to fight wars to secure both the resources and the wealth. Our perspective is one that ties social justice to economic justice and ecological justice. Meanwhile, the Democrats and Republicans have ascribed to a radical ideology of unsustainable economic growth, and their failed policies are now resulting in catastrophic climate change and ecological disruption.
Our elections are bought and sold on favors for the powerful elite, and justice will not be done until we overgrow this corrupted system from the grassroots up. Our children will be presented with military enlistment as their greatest opportunity, our tax money will be spent on sophisticated weaponry, and our basic human needs like housing, healthcare, and water will continue to be commodities so long as we keep this system in place. Billions will be wasted on reconstruction projects -- from New Orleans to Baghdad -- steeped with fraud and devoid of accountability.
We do not have the luxury anymore for shortsighted policies which benefit the few. Our reliance on cheap oil, our subsidization of corporate agribusiness, and our death-kiss to family farms have made us incredibly vulnerable to famine. Our unchecked consumption, our devotion to technology, and our car-dominated sprawling lifestyles have been ravaging the planet. Global warming is a huge threat to all of Earth's inhabitants, while peak oil threatens our economic system and will completely end the standard of living we have grown accustomed to. Ecologically speaking, the 6 billion people of the planet can likely not be sustained without cheap oil, and most certainly not without dramatic social reorganization.
In some sense, the answers to our political problems are the same as the answers to these lifestyle problems. We need to reassert basic democratic control of everything in our life -- from municipal decision-making to state and federal government, from local food and energy production to healthcare and education. We need to stop waiting for people to solve our problems for us, and begin to see ourselves as the problem-solvers.
In this respect, Cindy, I am asking you to run for president despite the blowback you will surely receive. You will be shat upon for daring to run for such a high office in the first place, as if you do not have more skill than George W. Bush. You will be reprimanded for running in an outsider political party, as a spoiler to the Democrats, as if they have taken their role as an opposition party seriously or as though you can possibly spoil a system that is rotten to its core. You will be called names from egomaniac to crazy to anti-Semite to moonbat. You will be called unqualified, inexperienced, and delusional. You will have to fight for every inch, and every dime, and every vote. They will come at you from unanticipated and unimaginable angles. They will ignore you, and laugh at you, and vilify you. But the people of this nation will see through the smoke and through the clouds, and will see genuine leadership take image in front of them. And they will see the leadership within themselves. And right now, what we need more than anything is to see ourselves as solutions to the growing crises rather than as contributors.
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