Sunday, June 21, 2009

24th District Green?

24th District Green? There will be some who could comment that I've always been a Green, and that may be true in some sense, but I've never been registered as a member of the Green Party of New York State before. Still, looking back I can see that the Green Party was always the right place for me.

I knew I could never be a Republican. I value science, liberty and the natural world too much for that. I was a Democrat for years, at times very active within the Party, because I believed that the Democrats supported my values, and would defend them against the Republican onslaught.

In 2002, the Democrats promised resistance to the Republican agenda... as soon as the election was over. They couldn't risk losing seats, they said. In 2004, the Democrats said we needed to accept a lot of Republican rhetoric from Democratic candidates, because the elections couldn't be lost, but there would be resistance, they promised... as soon as the election was over. In 2006, the Democrats said that they would resist the Republicans, but took impeachment off the table, and said that a progressive agenda would come soon... after the election. [This was when Blue Dog Mike Arcuri came along and said that he thought that the Republican Military Commissions Act was just great].

In 2008, we heard the same thing. Accept big government spying, and more coal-burning power plants, and increased offshore drilling, and mixing church and state, and gay bashing, we were told, but just for the campaign. Change, and hope, and Yes We Can will come, they said... after the election.

Now, it's after the election, and the Democrats, true to form, are breaking the promises they made to advance a progressive agenda. They're supporting government secrecy, and lobbyist influence, and more war, and fossil fuel energy expansion, homophobia, mixing church and state. They're not retracting the Bush-era laws that hobbled our civil liberties. They're not holding anyone accountable for the crimes of the last 8 years. They're throwing obscene amounts of money to the same corrupt corporations that got our economy into trouble in the first place.

At the state level, Democratic governors have been a disaster. They've missed the opportunity for a reinvestment in our state's social infrastructure because of their arrogance and corruption. David Paterson's insistence that higher income New Yorkers won't be asked to carry their share of the burden created by Wall Street's meltdown smashed his credibility. His appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand, an inexperienced Blue Dog who leans far to the right, was a confirmation that the Democrats are more interested in power than principle.

There are a few Democratic politicians I appreciate. I respect my representative in the New York State Assembly, for example, and some of the Democratic politicians in my town and county. These Democrats aren't enough to redeem their party, however. Supporting the Democratic Party has become an exercise of the delusional hope that a few worthy individuals can reform a corrupt organization.

I'm casting my lot with the Greens, because though they don't have power, they have principle. I'd rather lose trying to do the right thing than win with people who have shown that they can't be trusted with power they have already been given.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Welcome home to the Green Party! New York is badly in need of a party that isn't wedded to politics-as-usual. And Greens can win, especially in local races; upstate has seen 4 Green mayors already.
It's imperative that the NY Greens regain ballot status, so we can run local candidates and grow the party. To do so, we need to get 50,000 votes for governor on the Green Party line in 2010. Know anyone who would make a good candidate?