Jill Stein is not Jesse Ventura (why I might vote Green in the presidential election)

In 1999, I voted for the Green Party in the Governor’s race. I was young and idealistic. I voted for a candidate who really fit with my values. After Jesse Ventura was elected Governor, a lot of people told me it was because of people like me not sticking with the Democrats. Back then —whether the corporate world had already purchased our government or not, I don’t know (I was young and idealistic, remember)— I believed everyone’s vote made a difference, so I believed my vote had ultimately been a bad decision.

Here we are again, but the stakes are much higher. The idea of voting for a candidate who truly represents my values is terrifying. The consequences could be deadly, without any exaggeration (a President Trump would lead to many deaths around the world, I have no doubt).

At this point, I have no allegiance to any party or any candidate. People who know me are surprised to find I’m not an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders. It’s not that I think he’s not an amazing politician; I just don’t think he’s radical enough to change our broken system. I’ve given no energy in the time of primaries as the Democrats have selected their candidate. If I’m going to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” I’m simply going to vote Not Trump.

As I stay in my place of indecision with my mind as open as it can be, I do wonder if perhaps the time is right for real change? What if everyone who loves Bernie Sanders for all of his progressive and practical values really looked at Jill Stein as a candidate? What if the major media outlets all included Jill Stein in their reporting? What if…?

A lot of people hate Hillary Clinton. I don’t. I think she’s about the same as President Obama. Both are owned by Wall Street but both care deeply about trying to do the right thing with the cards they feel they were dealt.

What if everyone who recognizes Donald Trump for what he is — a very, very dangerous man — took some time to look at Jill Stein’s plan? What if there was an actual revolution in our political process? What if we tell the corporations we’re sick of them making all of our decisions, that we want to create a government by the people, of the people, and for the people in ways it never has been before?

 

 

 

 

 

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politics as art (liberals are terrible painters)

Reading bits and pieces of the liberal reaction to the conservative story of the “Obamaphone,” I am once again disappointed in my fellow progressives. The radical right’s communication machine was dragging us and now walks peacefully with Americans as we destroy our constitutional freedoms. They keep getting better at it and we keep helping them.

The radical right (or conservatives, the Republican Party, the Tea Party) understand how our minds work. People understand everything through metaphors. We feel our reality. They use majestic broad strokes, realizing it’s the whole painting that matters. We will feel what they want us to feel (fear, in particular) when we are exposed to powerful metaphors that reach all of our senses. It’s a story of a Black woman getting a phone from a Black man. It’s the Black man giving our money to greedy (lazy), ignorant Black people. We feel it without any facts.

The_Scream

Then, there is the typical weak and disorganized progressive (or liberal, Democratic Party) response. First, it’s not much. Second, it’s peck-peck-pecking away at facts-facts-facts. No broader picture with metaphors we can feel and understand. We’re so distracted by the blatant inaccuracies/lies put out by the radical right’s communication machine, we miss the whole point. And, we have no communications machine. We have no way to keep our messages consistent — using the same metaphors across the liberal/progressive media to make clear how much we value freedom, caring, and responsibility. We peck-peck-peck. No shared concept of the larger picture we ought to be painting.

Until they click on the image to see the larger picture, rare is the person who would have a clue about the complete painting created with the help of this tiny pointillistic image.

We need our own metaphors. We need clear and direct communications among all our factions to determine our own larger pictures. Consistency. No individual responses, peck-peck-pecking at tiny images that don’t even come close to communicating—through feelings—our important message of valuing freedom, caring, and responsibility.

caring requires strength (why Romney will win)

Romney will win and the progressives (liberals, Democrats, however you want to label us) are helping to make that happen.

Every time Romney makes one of his gaffes, the progressive and even the moderate communities fall all over themselves with shock, disgust, and a lot of gleeful laughter. Each time we do that we put another nail in our coffin. The radical right knows their base of voters—and their base votes—believes hard work really pays off. In their view, if Romney is rolling in dough and helping the rich, he’s doing it because he’s successful. He must have done what they (the poor, working poor, and fundamentalist evangelical Christians) believe they can do if they try hard enough. He is a successful man, he is at the top of the food chain, so he is a leader (strict father morality) deserving of respect.

When we respond to him and mock him or say he’s awful, we are doing what the well-oiled communications machine of the radical right say that the “elitist liberals” do. We think we are better than everyone. We think we know what’s best for people. We condescend to everyone around us. We pat poor people on the head and give them a cookie and a hug. We don’t know how to be strong (like the successful guys like Romney or George W. Bush). Our wimpy ideas will turn our nation into sinful/amoral hedonists without any sense of responsibility.

Whether everything about Romney’s idiotic statements has been orchestrated, or if he is simply the best choice of puppet for the radical right (all politicians are puppets in this regard, the public face of policy formation and communications), or if they just got lucky that he keeps upsetting the progressives, it’s working. The progressives are all giddy because they think we’ll win. Surely even the least informed voters will realize Romney is an asshole who doesn’t care about them? The progressives are all passionate to show how wrong Romney is. The progressives are all swept away with responding to Romney. That’s how the radical right will win.

We need to stop paying attention to the radical right. We need to embrace our own values and share them with each other:

Hard work should pay off—A man should be able to work one full-time job and bring home enough money to pay for food, shelter, healthcare, and reasonable living expenses for his family. When hard times hit a family, the work they’ve done and the taxes they’ve paid should guarantee their freedom from poverty. Hard work should pay off.

Caring requires strength; caring is strength—Firefighters, police officers, first responders, and soldiers are all in the business of caring. They protect us. When a single mother protects her children by enduring the humiliation of asking for assistance from the government, she is being strong for her family. Protecting is caring and caring requires strength.

Government’s job is protecting our freedom—We should be free to drink clean water, eat disease-free food, and have access to electricity and drivable roads. Our health should be in our own control; the government should protect our medical freedom (access to high quality and truly affordable healthcare). Government’s job is protecting our freedom.

We are strong enough to care about each other. We are strong enough to be proud of our patriotic values (caring and freedom). We love our country because we value freedom: freedom from fear, from illness, and from poverty. We recognize we are a part of an interconnected global community. Finding peaceful solutions to international problems—trying to keep our soldiers safe—protects our freedom. Caring requires strength.

because liberals/moderates are stagnating idiots, Gingrich will be President

(Edited to add: this article does a more clear and thorough job than I’ve done describing these issues.)

Liberals/progressives/moderates are all in a tizzy because the Republican candidates are comically awful in so may respects. It’s infuriating to see the feeding frenzy as photos of a wildly laughing Obama or the shamed Newt gifs fly all around cyberspace. It’s infuriating because while all the people who think Sarah Palin was an idiot, a fluke, a media spectacle and not much more, are going to be laughing and pointing over here —> the radical right will take their candidate of choice (whether it’s Gingrich or anyone else they select) right into the Oval Office.

The radical right loves a redemption story. Entire industries are built on it. The machinery in place that speaks to most Americans (most Americans, not just a few lunatic Tea Party-esque misspelling freaks), the one that has co-opted the language of freedom, rights, independence, and patriotism, just needs the perfect candidate and they will win. We liberals (progressives) will be so stunned that this group could select such a screwed up candidate that we’ll miss the point.

The point is, they want someone who has screwed up a lot. They want someone who has made serious errors. They want someone who will feed into their values: people screw up and they learn their lessons through hard knocks and make things right and we must forgive them (if they are one of our own). (Especially if they are leaders in our hierarchy.)

It’s even worse than when the liberals/progressives who I have considered like-minded people until the last few years glommed on to calling the Tea Party the “tea baggers.” Talk about feeding the fire that the liberal elite are laughing at the rest of us.

We’ll all be laughing our heads off (well, I won’t be) because the candidates are farcical and we won’t take them seriously (Obama’s got it in the bag!). Or, we’ll be terrified about the prospect that they might win so we’ll focus on their weak qualities in an effort to appeal to voters’ logic and reason. We’ll write editorials and op-eds and talk on Sunday morning news shows about how this candidate is weak in x, y, z areas and how they aren’t holding positions in the best interest of their constituents instead of speaking about our progressive values and… we will lose.

I’m tempted to say it won’t make that much of a difference if they win because obviously Obama’s no radical progressive. But, it will make a difference. The radical right, the fundamentalist extremists, the “Left Behind”-led core leadership that counseled and guided George W. Bush. These are the people who will have the power. Last year some significant polls found that 41% of Americans believe Jesus will be returning (before 2050). This is not a small number of people who believe in this, it is not something to take lightly or laugh off as ludicrous.

It’s deeply disturbing to see all of the energy being poured into mocking the Republican candidates when so few people seem to understand how people make choices because of their values, not because of “their best interest.” Visit Focus on the Family’s website. Check out the related industries cited in Ehrenreich’s Bright Sided. Talk to someone who gets glassy-eyed when they discuss “The Gift” with you. Recognize that the machine that started with Reagan, the framing, the understanding that people vote with their values not in “their best interest.” We left/liberal/progressive and even the moderates (those “social liberal/fiscal conservatives” in particular) are still stuck in the Enlightenment view of the mind. We are stuck looking at facts and figures thinking that is what matters. What matters to voters is their values. The radical right fundamentalist extremists are the only ones who understand this (save a small handful of academics like Drew Westen and George Lakoff). They are going to win because of it.

Christian quickie

As an ultra-liberal person I’ve been glad to find myself not hating Christians. Thinking Christians are hate-filled nutjobs is pretty easy since a small group of fundamentalists took over the mainstream image of Christianity.

What I learned this week in the Drew Westen book I’ve been talking about non-stop is the a bit about the difference between “fundamentalists” and “evangelicals.” Sometimes people are both. But, if you’re like me at all and assume that both are driven by fear and hatred for people they don’t understand, driven by fear that what’s “theirs” will be taken away, driven by an unquestioning and freakishly disturbing willingness to submit to their authority figures no matter what those “leaders” say…?

Nope. That’s pretty much just the leaders and a lot of the followers of the Christian fundamentalists.* Think Pat Robertson.

The evangelicals aren’t likely to be anything like a lefty liberal, but they typically understand Jesus’ message as being about caring for the poor, loving your neighbor, and all those highly relevant Christian concepts.

Join me, won’t you, in moving the evangelicals into the “probably good-hearted people” category?

The fundamentalists, on the other hand, are the ones so often filled with fear and hate. Frightened lemmings following their wealthy selfish evil authorities off the cliff into a wonderful Disneyworld where everyone looks, talks, believes, sees, hears, sounds, tastes, smells, and shits like they all think they’re supposed to.

* As I was Googling, I came across some articles defending fundamentalist Christians, too. It sits right with me to not assume they are all scary fucking assholes. So, check this out as an example of how it’s possibly just a third of them perpetuating hate, fear, and selfishness: http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/