The intrepid Chris asked: If you could start a political party, what would be its planks?
Let me first make it quite clear that I have zero interest in actually running for political office.
When I was in high school, I was president of student government. Someone wrote in my yearbook that I was a great President, and she was looking forward to when I was President of the United States! [Her exclamation point.] THAT’S not going to happen.
It’s odd that being a political science major has made me LESS likely to seek elective office. Meanwhile, one of my classmates at New Paltz, Kevin Cahill, has been in the NYS Assembly for a number of years, and doing a fine job, it appears.
Anyway, I started writing down my values and positions, but discovered that it was TOO HARD for writing a blog post. Coming up with the right verbiage was WORK. So I’m cheating.
I looked up the platform of that political party named after me, the Green Party. I found the 2012 platform, and found that much of it I agree with. This begs the question, why am I a Democrat, rather than a Green? Because the way the system is shaped, a Green can’t win very often. Indeed, that is one of the issues.
I’m going to excerpt parts of the Green platform. My non-inclusion of other parts doesn’t mean I necessarily DISAGREE, but that it wasn’t a primary issue for me in the time I was compiling my positions.
Democracy: Our citizens must not permit usurpation of their authority by acts of individuals and government agencies that isolate or insulate government from their oversight and control. Citizens of a democracy must have the information and ability to determine the actions of their government. Vast concentrations of wealth and power that have occurred in recent years are inherently undemocratic. The deregulation of corporate activity and the decentralization and underfunding of the regulatory structures that remain – accompanied by the centralizing of big money – has been a disaster for our country. The true owners of the public lands, pension funds, and the public airwaves are the American people, who today have little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.
A. Political Reform:
*Comprehensive campaign finance reform, including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and state level; and / or full public financing of elections to remove undue influence in political campaigns.
*A rejection the present method of election without a majority. Accordingly, we call for the use of Instant Runoff Voting where voters can rank their favorite candidates (1,2,3, etc.) to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.
B. Political Participation
*A call for citizen control of redistricting processes and moving the “backroom” apportionment process into the public light. Give the 10-year redistricting process to the Census Bureau or an independent agency.
*All persons convicted of felonies shall regain full citizenship rights upon completion of their sentence.
*To protect against fraud, previously proprietary voting machine source code must be open for public inspection and verification before and after an election.
*Support for Head Start and Pre- and neo-natal programs
*Seek opportunities for citizens to serve their communities through non-military community service, such as a Civilian Conservation Corps
D. Free Speech and Media Reform
*Provide broadband internet access for all residents of this country, so that access to information is a right, not a commodity.
*Ensure net neutrality, so that Internet users can access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider.
*Ensure free and equal airtime for all ballot-qualified political candidates and parties on radio and television networks and stations.
*Provide generous public funding for Public Broadcasting System (PBS) television and National Public Radio (NPR) to ensure high-quality news and cultural programming with the widest possible range of viewpoints.
E. Foreign Policy
*Our government does not have the right to justify pre-emptive invasion of another country on the grounds that the other country harbors, trains, equips and funds a terrorist cell.
F. Domestic Security
*Strict enforcement of our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest.
*End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities.
*Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
*Revoke the USA Patriot Act.
*Enact a constitutional amendment affirming that the rights outlined in our Bill of Rights are human rights and do not apply in any way to corporations.
*Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.
Geez, that’s just the DEMOCRACY section! I agree with most of the SOCIAL JUSTICE section, with special emphasis on consumer protection, a single-payer health insurance, and alternatives to incarceration; re: abortion, I quoted Hillary Clinton’s “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Ditto ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY, focusing on recycling and also transportation’s mass transit, bicycles and pedestrians. I don’t necessarily disagree with the ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY section, but none of its tenets made my first draft, except the elimination of hunger.
The rest of your questions will have to wait, Chris.