July 18, 2008

Why I remain ambivalent about voting Green

Basically, it’s because for all the good Green Party positions, there’s plenty of nuttery, which might in part be excusable, but also hypocrisy that can rival the Republican-Democratic duopoly.

The GP platform (PDF) has details of the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, the good?

I definitely agree with withdrawing from Afghanistan with Iraq.

I wholeheartedly support ending the “War on Drugs,” medicalizing marijuana and getting rid of private prisons.

I totally support making sure workers get all possible rights to unionize.

Get rid of permanent vetoes for any U.N. Security Council member? I could be down with that.

Repeal the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act? Sign me up.

Fair trade? I’ve been decrying liberal squishes for more than a decade.

Civil rights of secularists? Of course; I am one.

But, then comes the nuttery, in a variety of forms, many of them involving some degree of detachment from reality.

For example, you CANNOT be hardcore about chastising the Bush Adminstration for failure to follow up on sound science on global warming and climate change, then turn around and be all woo-hoo, granola and New Agey (pejoratives intended) on wanting even more federal support for alternative medicine than now, alternative medicine that not only has no scientific support, but has plenty of scientific debunking, without being hugely hypocritical.

Nonetheless, the Greens continue to do this.
Health Programs and Medical Treatment
We support the availability of holistic health approaches and, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy and acupuncture.

No, federal support isn’t technically mentioned in that graf, but as the GP favors a single-payer version of national healthcare, it IS mentioned in the broader context.

Next, the GP looks like it’s been infiltrated by John Birchers:
Chemicals used in the fluoridation of America's public drinking water supplies are toxic waste by-products. The majority of these toxic wastes come from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Fluoride accumulates in the human body through ingestion and inhalation. A growing body of research suggests that fluoride may be associated with arthritis, hip fractures, bone cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders. For these reasons, the Green Party opposes the fluoridation of drinking water.

Except now, Big Biz, rather than Godless Commies, are going to kill us with fluoride.

Actual proof? Whole nother story, or non-story.

Then, on nuclear issues, we have this:

The platform calls for phaseout of all nuclear power AND technology, without mentioning nuclear medicine. Oversight, straddle or hypocrisy? I will take either Choice No. 2 or No. 3. Disingeniousness, like hypocrisy, it would appear is not limited to major parties.



At times, the platform has a mix of naivete, willfulness and anti-authoritarianism that isn’t fully connected to reality.

Take, for example, the portion of the platform on homelessness:
Repeal laws that criminalize any facet of homelessness including where they sleep, or that deny citizens the right to help homeless persons.

Re-affirm and enforce laws that open public buildings for the homeless in freezing weather.

Open feeding stations that guarantee two meals/day to homeless people.

First, let’s state some actual facts about the homeless situation.

With some variations between parts of the country, seasons of the year, and economic conditions, sociologists and social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, criminologists, and last but not least, addiction counselors will tell you that the homeless, like Gauls of Caesar’s day, are divided into three roughly equal parts:

1. The down on their luck;
2. The mentally ill;
3. The addicts.

That’s with some overlap between 2 and 3, and people who are originally in category 1 exacerbating their situation into Category 3.

OK. I’m not down with decriminalizing public drunkenness, which is going to include in some way, public drug intoxication these days. So, scratch GP point 1.

Public buildings? With food, no less? Larger cities have city-run homeless shelters. Even mid-sized cities have the Salvation Army, church missions, etc.

Problem is, many people in Category 2 and all active users in Category 3 don’t want to go into those places. People who are schizophrenic or in the manic phase of bipolar disorder are literally paranoid of them.

And alcoholics or addicts don’t want to quit, which shelters demand.

I don’t know what country some GP members live in; the homeless have at least some degree of safety net, but they have to be willing to use that net on the net’s terms.



I have other disagreements that are lesser-level, but still definite disagreements.

For example, the GP cut out calls for a gas tax hike from this year’s platform. I say keep it in, and use the money to subsidize lower-income people buying more fuel-efficient cars.

And, that said, a call to boost car gas mileage to 60 MPG by 2012 is ridiculous. Even Toyota can’t do that.

And, the claim that water can only be managed at a sustainable level at the local level? Wrong. That can produce water wars.

Hydrogen car? It’s greenwash for carmakers, and the GP is dumb enough to fall for it.

Subpoena power to “neighborhood councils”? Uhh, folks like Posse Comitatus, Republic of Texas, various Freeman groups, etc., would all looovvee that one.



Some things, I just find interesting, like the GP saying education should remain a state-level issue. I think it should be more federalized than it is now.

I also think the GP, along with the ruling duopoly, misses the boat in not calling for a European-length school year.

Hawaiian sovereignty? The past is well in the past.

D.C. statehood? The Constitution provides (both for Greens and Jesse Jackson-type Democrats) for retrocession to Maryland.

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