How I discovered the Green Party
I'm from South Africa and have a background as a youth leader and
activist in the anti-apartheid struggle. Before I moved here, my
idea of politics in the U.S. equaled Democrats versus Republicans,
plus the odd billionaire who could afford to have himself heard.
Since neither of the two major parties ideologies and modus
operandi were in line with my beliefs and principles, I
reluctantly prepared myself for life as a political spectator.
Then one Friday night in August 2000, I
stumbled across a C-Span television broadcast of a Green Party
rally in Minnesota that featured Ralph Nader as the main speaker.
I watched with childish delight as if I had discovered something
that I was not supposed to be aware of. I discovered the Green
Party that night, and I am still proud to be associated with the
only genuine and unwavering political mouthpiece of the
marginalized and disempowered populace of American society.
--Danzel van Zyl, D.C. Statehood Green Party
Feminist and Green
I became a Green, in 1992, because I was outraged to see a local
Green candidate bumped off the ballot unjustly by the very
official she was challenging, so I offered to become a Green just
long enough to run a 17-day write-in protest campaign against him.
The guy was re-elected, but four thousand people vindicated my
effort by learning how to correctly spell my name in those two and
a half weeks, and that was that.
Except... except that when I sat down to do
it, I really couldn't think of why I would change my party
affiliation back. The Green Party was the only party I had ever
seen use the word Feminist, and mean it. Last year, I ran for
office again-- this time over 23,000 voted yes. Still not enough,
but I'm not done yet. It was an accident of fate, a moment
of honor, that brought me to be a Green. I've never looked back.
--Claudia Ellquist, Arizona
Make the Green Leap
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,
and the time has come for people to make the Greenleap to a
sustainable world. You don't have to vote for a Green President,
but you can vote to elect scores of local Progressive and Green
officials who will be able to help craft the policies that will
create the kind of sustainable society we will need to survive in
the coming century.
I was born Green. From the time I was about the age of 12, I have
been radically opposed to industrialism. In 1970 I went off to
college to study wildlife management so I could help endangered
species. Very quickly I figured out the problems were not with the
animals, but with the people, so I studied anthropology instead. I
heard about the Green Party in Germany and said, as soon as it
gets here, I am joining. In Maine the first meeting of the Green
Party was in the winter of 1984 and I joined right up and have
been at it continuously ever since, for more than 21 years.
-- Greg Gerritt, Rhode Island
Light One Candle Cambridge, MA has used proportional representation for the
past 64 years. The city has a Moody's AAA bond rating, with good
municipal services. Their City Council electoral debates are full
of city planning details and have little mudslinging.
Historically, certain varieties of proportional representation
have always crushed electoral corruption. For example, Cincinnati
went from a political disaster to an impeccably run town in the
1920s. PR's only problem is that the local crooks usually pay huge
sums of money to get it repealed, so that they can plunder the
town forever. Anyone can curse a rotten local or national
politician. I want to light one candle. I want electoral
corruption to end. I'm with the Greens specifically because they
support proportional representation.
-- Paul Klinkman, Rhode Island
[As] a former Democrat, I became increasingly frustrated with the
Democrats' continual shift to the right and what I saw as the
abandonment of their traditional "base" (the working
class), with their alliance with and allegiance to corporate
America, with their refusal to address unsustainable policies that
are killing our planet. In short, I could no longer rationalize
voting for corporatist militarists simply because they were
"not as bad" as the extreme right. But more important, I
came to the realization that a party already existed that
represented my thirst for social justice, ecological wisdom, and
grassroots democracy. That party was the Green party. For the
first time in my life, I felt like my bumper sticker, "Think
globally, Act locally," had real meaning.
--Steve Geiger, Oregon Pacific Green Party
The Earth needs us
Back in the mid-'90s I realized that the two-party system did not
represent my beliefs and values. I voted for Ralph Nader for the
first time in 1996, my first third-party vote. In 2000 I worked on
his campaign and knew that this was the party for me. The four
pillars spoke to my beliefs and values, how I viewed the world
should be. We formed the Greater Milwaukee Green Party and I was
part of it. I am proud to be Green. I hope we continue to grow in
these most difficult times. This country needs us, the earth needs
us.Hopefully Green and Growing,
--Ruth Weill, Greater Milwaukee Green Party,
I registered Green in 1994, when I moved back to Alaska, where I
had been born and raised, from Seattle, where I had lived for six
years. Being away from home for so long made me aware of how
important a sense of community was to me. When I came back north,
I knew I wanted to live in a place where people cared about each
other and the place they lived--and that I had a responsibility to
help create that sense of community. The Green Party is the only
party that specifically includes community-building in its
political platform and underlying principles, and that includes
all aspects of it: respect for diversity, community-based
economics, local decision-making, participatory democracy,
nonviolent problem-solving, personal responsibility, gender
equity, responsibility to future generations, and
recognition and inclusion of the environment within human society.
The Greens are about taking care of our home, together.
--Deirdre Helfferich, Tanana-Yukon Green
Government of, by, and for the people
I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut where I was
taught that there were but two political parties--one for the rich
and one for the poor. This left me little option but to register
as a Democrat when I became eligible to vote. A short time later I
moved to Providence, RI, to attend college. I found myself in a
state dominated by Democrats, yet I was not witnessing the type of
progressive politics that I expected from what I was taught was a
left-leaning party. Instead I saw corruption and corporate favor.
I discovered the Greens after speaking with a candidate for the
state legislature, and agreeing whole-heartedly with his views.
After volunteering on his campaign, I became aware that these were
not the views of only a few individuals, but of a sizable party. I
remember reading the Ten Key Values for the first time and being
moved by the fact that my personal beliefs had been so
articulately stated as the basis for a political movement. At a
time when conservatism has experienced a rebirth and the Democrats
have abdicated their role as the opposition party, these values
have the potential to awaken a new generation of Americans to the
idea that our government is truly of, by, and for the people.
--Ben Gworek, Green Party of Rhode Island
"The Green Party is no longer the alternative, the Green Party is the imperative" ~ Rosa Clemente