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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
SGN Exclusive Interview: Jill Stein
Section One
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SGN Exclusive Interview: Jill Stein

2012 Green Party candidate for President

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Recently, SGN met up with Jill Stein, the Green Party's 2012 presidential candidate. Stein, who ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 (coincidently against Mitt Romney), told SGN she was 'the first gubernatorial candidate to support same-sex marriage in the first state to adopt equal marriage, in 2002 - when the Democrats and Republicans were trying to decide whether or not they supported civil unions.'

Proposing 'The Green New Deal,' a four-part green agenda modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, to move America 'out of crisis and into a secure, sustainable future,' Stein says Americans can 'turn the White House into a Green House.'

OBAMA NOT PRO-GAY ENOUGH?
SGN: Barack Obama is the first sitting president to come out in support of same-sex marriage. Why should an LGBT voter vote for you?

Stein: Because Gay marriage alone isn't going to create the security and equality that members of the GLBT community deserve. & The president was a day late and a dollar short on equal marriage. He has allowed the DOMA to remain on the books, has not advocated to take it off, and has left it really as a burden for the GLBT community to have to fight for their rights.

The ball is in the wrong court here. If the president is supposed to be the leader for the kind of society we want, the president should not be waiting until public opinion has turned. The president should be leading public opinion, and standing up and advocating for that community. It's not only true on equal marriage and GLBT economic rights, but about health care, because members of the GLBT community need and deserve comprehensive full health care.

WHAT'S CHANGED SINCE NADER?
SGN: So what's new with the Green Party since Nader/Bush/Gore? What lessons have been learned? What is important about this election in particular?

Stein: We're in a different place now because of ten years of experience and the Green Party has been through a very challenging growth curve. & People point to the Green Party and say, 'You haven't won the day since Nader.' Well, we have won the day, because we're here to fight again. We live to fight on. What being Green is really about is understanding how we're all connected. We're connected to each other; we're connected to the planet. Our economy is part of that connection.

People are learning that silence has not proved itself to be an effective political strategy. In fact these politics of fear have actually delivered just about everything we were afraid of - the attack on our civil liberties, the massive Wall Street bailouts. Under Bush it was $700 billion, but under Obama it's four-and-a-half trillion [sic] dollars of taxpayer money that's been used to bail out Wall Street.

How about the free trade agreements that are sending our jobs overseas and undermining wages, which continue to decline in this country? Obama has been Bush on steroids as far as the free trade agreements go - he's massively expanded them. Right now he's negotiating in secret this Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will do more of the same. It is NAFTA on steroids, and in addition it compromises American sovereignty and gives multinational corporations the right to overrule our regulations and laws and require us as taxpayers to pay them if we want to protect our water supply, or our air, or our climate. We have to pay them for lost future profits.

[Obama] has embraced 'drill, baby, drill,' fracking, expanded offshore oil & things are progressing so much faster. He has undermined the International Climate Accords. & He postponed until 2020 any international agreement. & This is a death sentence.

Our civil liberties are under attack. Barack Obama has essentially codified the violations of George Bush on our civil liberties, and this president has given himself the power to criminalize protest, to create indefinite detention - he can throw any of us into jail any time he wants to, without even accusing us of a crime or putting us in front of a jury.

The last point to mention is assassination, which this president has assumed the right of and has exercised even for American citizens.

Obama has gotten away with what Bush never could because the resistance goes to sleep under a Democrat. Under a Republican, we fight.

THE DEMOCRATS' TRUMP CARD?
SGN: What about fear of the Republicans? It appears many Democratic voters vote that way because they're afraid of a Republican administration. They're afraid of steps backward in LGBT rights and a woman's right to choose. Aren't those legitimate concerns?

Stein: We hear a lot about the Supreme Court and how the Supreme Court trumps all, but in reality, the Supreme Court is not the engine of social change. What moves things in terms of big political transformation is social movements on the ground. We have that movement. That's how we're going to move forward. The Supreme Court has never moved us forward, and to hijack our whole political system with the hope that Obama is going to make the right appointments on one issue doesn't pass the laugh test.

This is another case of a public relations campaign conducted by the political establishment that is trying to silence their opposition. It just doesn't hold water when you really think about it.

Roe v. Wade alone is not going to save our health & when abortions aren't funded anyhow. [There are] plenty of strings attached in the Affordable Care Act that make it very hard for poor women to get abortions paid for and have reproductive health care. & The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable, nor comprehensive and caring.

[The health care system] is the mother of all illnesses. We've got to fix the illnesses in our political system in order to fix all the others.

SGN: Speaking of health care, you're a medical doctor. Your professional background is in medicine. What qualifies you to be president of the United States?

Stein: What qualifies me is that I am by and for the people as opposed to being by and for the one percent. People want to argue that experience making backroom deals, hijacking democracy, selling out our economy, sending our jobs overseas - that that kind of experience is a qualification. In my view that kind of experience actually should be disqualifying people from public service.

My pathway to running for office is as an activist, a mother, and a medical doctor, working on behalf of ordinary residents of this country and our communities, realizing that the political system was bought and sold and that if we wanted the health care we deserve and can afford, if we want our equal [civil] rights, if we want equal rights in the workplace and the jobs we all deserve, education that we can afford that doesn't turn a generation into indentured servants - if we want any of that, we've got to fix the broken political system.

CAN VOTERS BE SWAYED?
SGN: I'll be honest: most of the people I know already know who they're going to vote for. It often seems like there's no changing their minds, whether they're voting Obama or Romney. What would you say to these voters?

Stein: People are changing their minds when they hear about us. I have seen this since the beginning of my campaign. People were so ready to be talked out of this abusive relationship they're in. In many ways, people are in an abusive political relationship. In the same way that the abused person often recites the rationale of the abuser, that's what so many people are doing politically right now - justifying why they are being raked over the coals and why they should continue to submit.

SGN: There's going to be a lot of negativity between the two parties in this election. What positivity can the Green Party offer before November - or after, if you were to make it to the White House?

Stein: We have the numbers in terms of public opinion. It's why the Green Party is still around. The question is whether we will stand up and make ourselves the dominant force that we can be.

They [the dominant political parties] don't have an exit strategy for any of these crises. All they do is prop up this sham, phony economy of high finance and their big campaign donors, including the frackers, the nuclear power plants, and the defense contractors.

If we don't win the office in this election, we can win the day by reviving our democratic voice and the politics of courage - by driving these real solutions, including full GLBT economic rights, into public discussion where [they] will win the day. & If we leave it to [the major parties], they will keep all these solutions off the table [and] they will continue accelerating in the wrong direction.

They have brought us everything we were afraid of. We need to replace it with the politics of courage that actually stand up for what we need, what we deserve. We are the ones we've been waiting for.

We're on the ballot now in between 40 and 45 states. We're on track to be able to provide 90% to 95% of voters with a real choice in the voting booth. They don't have to go in and vote for one Wall Street-sponsored candidate or another. That movement for democracy and justice, as exemplified by Occupy, is alive and well. & People are turning the breaking point into a tipping point and we're ready to move forward.

For more information about the candidacy of Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala, visit www.jillstein.org.

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