And you might be shocked, shocked! to learn that these pundits and the overwhelming majority of media institutions generally have been covering up, blacking out, ignoring or downplaying just such a candidate from the upstart Green-Rainbow Party, Dr. Jill Stein. Stein isn’t taking money from the usual suspects, so she won’t owe any favors to lobbyists and influence-peddlers. Not only does she have the freedom to speak the truth and advance practical solutions as a candidate, but as governor she could help voters hold our elected officials accountable and get to work running state government for the people, not the insiders.
Electing someone like Stein could be the start of a triple transformation — of our politics, our government, and our economy. Suddenly instead of soundbites, backbiting, and negative ads, we’d have roll-your-sleeves-up creative problem-solving and grassroots participation. Instead of government steeped in secrecy and influence-peddling, we’d be on a path toward transparent and responsive government, and a reshuffling of priorities so that our tax money is serving all the people of the Commonwealth and not just the well-connected few. And instead of an obsession with propping up the old Wall Street economy, we’d have fresh new ideas and programs that will revitalize the Main Street economy and jumpstart the secure green economy of our future.
Clearly the pundits are ready for this. Take globalization cheerleader Thomas Friedman of the NY Times, for example. Friedman’s recent column “Third Party Rising” makes an impassioned case for the need for a new third party: “We need a third party on the stage of the next presidential debate to look Americans in the eye and say: ‘These two parties are lying to you. They can’t tell you the truth because they are each trapped in decades of special interests. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear. I am going to tell you what you need to hear if we want to be the world’s leaders, not the new Romans.'” He knows that the time is ripe for a third party to emerge… two years from now… that can really take advantage of today’s voter outrage. And perhaps following his own advice from 2006, when he called for the formation of a “Geo-Green party” to address energy security, environmental security, economic security, and Social Security, this third party could take on a mantle of ecological wisdom and social justice.
But if you take the conventional media wisdom at face value — that they are truly disgusted and disgruntled — you’d have to draw the conclusion that there is no good choice on the ballot November 2nd. In all too many cases, taking your guidance from the mainstream media, your local newspaper, or even that pollster that called you up and asked you which way you were leaning, you simply would not know there was an alternative choice. In most other cases, you’d just nod your head in agreement with faint praise for Stein as a genuine outsider, and then again at the instruction that since she cannot win, it is not worth voting for her. If you caught the spinfests after any of the debates she was actually included in, you’d get the same feeling. Maybe she made a couple of interesting points, but her placement on the ballot is just a cute little ritual of those strange Green-Rainbow people. Nothing more to see!
But say you tuned in to the debates she was in, or found yourself at JillStein.org or her Facebook page. And say you caught a glimpse of her tearing a giant hole in the careful stories of the three business-as-usual protectors. Challenging Governor Patrick on his devastating cuts to social services while protecting tax giveaways to big business; asking Tim Cahill for a single shred of evidence that high-stakes testing was helping educate our youth; or pitting the efficacy of single-payer healthcare against the private, for-profit health insurance bureaucracy and addressing it directly to the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim, Charlie Baker. Who would you trust – the doctor, environmental health researcher, and public health advocate, or the CEO whose salary tripled while Harvard Pilgrim’s health premiums more than doubled?
You just might start feeling a little rebellious if you were fully informed of the choices before you this November. You might start thinking that you’re mad as hell, and your vote this year could be your weapon of choice. You might start believing that instead of simply endorsing business-as-usual by picking the least-worse of three uninspiring choices, you’d rather your vote be counted as an undeniable message that you’re sick and tired of being so sick and tired all the time. You might get so disgusted of being told to vote against your values and against your interests in order to vote against some over-hyped straw man of pure evil, that you’d start toying with the idea of voting FOR someone. Voting for your values AND your interests. You might even take some comfort in the idea that many of those voting for Scott Brown were voting against the political machinery of Massachusetts out of protest, not out of support of the other duopoly party. Maybe having a choice on the ballot that could provide a constructive outlet for voter disgust is just the thing this state needs at this point in history.
The truth is that there is an alternative to politics-as-usual on the ballot this November, but she represents a force that the mainstream media does not want to unleash. But the perfect storm for a voter revolt is growing beneath the surface. And there’s only so much the main media can do to keep it off people’s radar screens. And there are countless ways that this emerging grassroots force can break open the lid and let Stein’s message shine. Her unique voice is resonating with those it reaches, so getting it out to the people of the Commonwealth can be a real game-changer.
Social media coordinator, Jill Stein for Governor