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I Can See Why the Green Party Exists
August 23, 2001
by Lao Tze

This article is a response to A Stern But Not Too Partisan Critique of the Greens by Confuscious.

Whether we view them as spoilers or not, I have been disturbed lately by a lot of the arguments made against the Green Party. One of the things that I've always held in high regard about us liberals is that we tend to extend the same decencies to everyone and use logic and rationale in our debates rather than propoganda, fear, and confusion. Some of us may view the Greens as spoilers, and some of us may not. Either way, a lot of the recent outlashing against the Green Party has reminded me of something you would read about us, written by a Republican.

Most recently, a critique of the Green Party was posted on Democratic Underground by a writer named 'Confuscious.' There are a lot of mistakes in reasoning in this critique, that when read, provide a somewhat misleading view of what the Green Party is trying to do. We Dems have always been the party that has stood up for the rights of our fellow Americans. Yet, recently it seems that we are viewing ourselves as the ONLY party that anyone, other than a conservative, has the right to support. This leaves a bad taste in my mouth for what I believe we are all about.

One of the lines that Confuscious wrote that really bothered me was: "However you want to say it, the Green Party does not have a mandate to run or criticize candidates who have more support."

We live in the U.S. don't we? Anyone has every right to criticize any candidate or run for office wherever and whenever they like. Surely one of the first truths about freedom and liberty is that in order to preserve them for ourselves, we must extend the same liberties and privileges to our "enemies?" Whether you agree, or not, with the Greens, the KKK, the ACLU, the Communist Party of America, or you neighborhood ice-cream man, they all have a right to exist and operate how they please under the laws of this country.

In his article, Confuscious said: "I beg myself to guess the main supporters of Ralph Nader and Green Party candidates, and it appears most of them are youngsters - some as young as 14, others as old as 28 - who have little understanding of politics, other than a viewpoint that because Democrats and Republicans are a majority they're like their parents, or an authority figure. The anger and bewilderment of this age group proves to be a political goldmine for the Greens, who are currently fishing for as much support possible and at any means neccesary"

This is unfounded speculation. Personally, I can see WHY the Greens exist. A lot of progressives feel left out by the shift to the right that the Democratic Party has taken in recent years. Things like backing of NAFTA and the WTO, corporate welfare, and so on. I do NOT agree with how Nader ran his campaign accusing both parties of being the same. However to many the current Democratic Party looks more like the Republican Party of the Sixties and less like the party of FDR, and somewhat rightly so. Again, whether you agree or not isn't the point to this particular debate.

I've heard many Democrats call the Greens "idealists." When did that become a bad word? I thought WE were the "idealists." When did we become "cynics"? I hope it's not too late for us to turn back. Maybe that's the key to beating the Green Party - getting rid of the reasons that the party started in the first place.

 
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