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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

There are "Greens" and then there are "greens" - but it's all good

This from Steve Kramer, one of the seven Co-Chairs of the Green Party of the US (ha! that's right, the RepubliDems only have one chair and we have seven! Bet they get green with envy when they discover that. :-) .



Most of us have been following the election results from yesterday. I wish to thank all of the voters out there who bravely and unashamedly made their choice for true, positive change in our country by voting for Green candidates.

One race of note from yesterday is the election for U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In that race, with over 99% of the precincts reporting, Democrat Jim Webb currently holds a lead of about 7,000 votes over Republican incumbent George Allen. A candidate from the "Independent Greens of Virginia", Gail Parker, gained a bit over 26,000 votes out of over 2.3 million cast - about 1.1% of the total. Since that time, the Green Party of the United States has gotten emails and phone calls asking about, or expressing an opinion about, Ms. Parker. The media has added to this association; for example, James Carville last night on CNN, said, "If the Green hadn't been running, the Democrat would have won easily."

However, the "Independent Greens of Virginia" are a separate entity from the Green Party as it is known to the majority of voters. They are a conservative group which does not share the values of the Green Party of the United States, and their platform seems to be focused almost entirely on railroad expansion in northern Virginia, at the expense of other issues of equal or greater importance to Greens and other Virginians. Our affiliate in Virginia is the Green Party of Virginia VAGreenParty.org, not the "Independent Greens" or "IGVA" VoteJoinRun.US.

Unlike the major parties, particularly the Democratic Party, we respect the right of any party or citizen to run for any office for which they are qualified, and to have votes for that campaign tallied fairly. And as Greens, we prefer to run on the merits of our ideas, and leave it to our affiliated state and local parties to determine the best specific ways in which to do so. Sadly, however, major media outlets and the major parties themselves perpetuate a content-free, "horse race" mentality between candidates who often have few distinguishing differences save the color used for them in television news graphics. (This Senate contest, between a conservative Republican and a former Republican, is an illustrative example.)

Rather than blaming people or parties for exercising their democratic rights in challenging this duopoly, Democrats and others should give serious consideration to a long overdue reform of the electoral system. Alternatives such as ranked choice voting (where voters rank their choices in order, 1-2-3 style) and proportional representation (where legislatures are populated based on the proportion of the vote received) empower voters, ensure broadly supported candidates, make governments look more like the people they represent, and do away with the so-called "spoiler factor". FairVote, the Center for Voting and Democracy, illustrates many of these choices at FairVote.org.

The Green Party will continue to stand for peace, justice, democracy, and our precious environment in future elections. We invite all voters to visit us at GP.org, and read about, support, contribute to, and vote for our candidates. A Greener world is possible - and we can do it with your help!


Steve Kramer
Green Party of the United States


Steve Kramer || scooter (at) guisarme dot net ||

"I never had an inner child. I had a filling of nougat and crisped rice."
Amanda Berman


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