By Peter Currier
So, America, it’s election season again. Endless campaign ads, people at each other’s throats over who they support, and good candidates being shunned because they challenge the mentality of “Red vs. Blue.” This is democracy at its finest. Yes, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to pick the lesser of two evils, whomever that may be for you. Believe it or not, third parties still exist, but (please excuse me for using this term) the mainstream media won’t tell you that.
Let me show you who our other options are: Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. These are two candidates who aren’t resorting to the “at least I’m not the other guy” tactic, because they both actually have good policies and ideas. Let’s look at each one individually.
Jill Stein and her Green Party may strike you as just another hippy-dippy environmentalist, until you actually look into her party’s platform. The big plan that the Green Party has to offer is known as the Green New Deal. It is inspired by FDR’s New Deal that helped to end the great depression in the 1930s. It is a four-step program that is aimed at getting us out of the great recession in a more environmentally friendly way.
Step 1 is to implement a Full Employment Program that is estimated to create over 25 million jobs. It would replace unemployment offices with employment offices that would offer jobs in the public sector that are “stored in job banks.” This would essentially guarantee all working-age Americans that they will not have to be unemployed. At the same time, health care would also become a right via a single payer “Medicare-For-all” program.
Step 2 would be to invest in businesses that have known to be environmentally friendly. Small businesses would be targeted for this in order to keep money circulating at local levels and enrich middle class communities across the country. At the same time the government would heavily fund research to replace fossil fuels with safer alternatives such as wind and solar energy.
Step 3: Put the economic influence of big banks and Wall Street into a decline. It is no secret that banker control has destabilized our economy to the point we are at now. One way to stop this is to break up big banks that are “too big to fail.” Stein would also attempt to end tax funded bailouts for banks that fall under this category.
And then of course, step four: Amend the constitution to make it clear the corporations do not count as people, and that money is not the same as free speech. While this is happening, we would abolish the current voting system that got Bush elected in 2000 even though he lost the popular vote, and replace it with one that actually represents everybody’s vote.
The Green New Deal isn’t the entirety of Jill Stein’s policies of course. Let’s take a quick look at what else she has to offer.
- Education: Everybody would have the right to tuition-free, public education from Pre-K to college. All current or recent college students will have their student loan debt forgiven.
- Foreign Policy: There would be a “no strike first policy” along with a “no pre-emptive strike policy.” In other words, we won’t go to war unless we are attacked first. We would also allow the U.N. to intervene in other nation’s affairs when it is clear acts of genocide are being perpetrated. The U.S. would also phase out any military bases that don’t exist as a result of U.N. security resolutions.
- Israel: Jill Stein rejects U.S. support of Israel, and would not veto any U.N. resolutions pertaining to Israel. She wishes to look further into human rights and war crimes that have been committed by the Israelis towards the Palestinians.
- Space: The Green Party would like to continue peaceful exploration of the final frontier, and keep the military out of it. It is a way for the international community to work together in order to further the human race.
- Media and Free Speech: Current media corporations would be broken up, and the power of the media would be given to the public to encourage non-profit news. Also, “net-neutrality” would be guaranteed, meaning that users may use or view any applications or web content without the limiting restrictions of their internet provider. This is especially significant due to the recent SOPA legislation that nearly passed as law.
If you want to learn more about the Green New Deal and the rest of the Green party’s platform, go to http://www.jillstein.org/.
Now, we get to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for the presidency. One very important thing to keep in mind about this man is that he originally ran as a Republican. He switched parties after not being allowed in any of the Republican debates and realizing that he would get absolutely nowhere if he remained in the party.
Mr. Johnson was the governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. Upon his entry into the race for governor, nobody had heard of him. He spent $500,000 of his own money to enter the campaign, despite being advised by prominent Republicans to settle for state legislature instead. Within two weeks of entering, he was the front runner.
Let us see what Governor Johnson would bring to the table if he were to be elected president.
- Health Care: He wishes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) as he believes that competition and fewer regulations would allow insurance companies to keep prices down and keep services up. But, at the same time, he thinks that the current MEDICARE and MEDICAID systems are unsustainable, and must see reform. After the state of New Mexico took control of MEDICAID, services improved while prices dropped by 25 percent.
- Education: Gov. Johnson seeks to dissolve the Department of Education. The DoE grants each state 11 cents out of every dollar that is spent on education, but those states also lose 16 cents to the dollar due to “strings attached.” At the same time, states that receive federal funding lose 5 cents to the dollar due to mandates and regulations, taking millions of dollars out of the classroom. Johnson would put the educational budgets in the hands of the schools and parents of students.
- Drug enforcement: From 2005 to 2008 Gary Johnson used medical marijuana after being involved in a near-fatal paragliding accident. He suffered several severe injuries. He used the drug to help effectively alleviate pain. He wishes to legalize marijuana and take control of the drug out of the black market and take money away from criminal organizations who profit off the plant. He compares the prohibition of cannabis to that of alcohol in the 1920s and earl ’30s, in the sense that it didn’t work. His goal is to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
- Foreign Policy: The governor wishes to see the end of military operations in Afghanistan. Under his administration, there would be less military focus on other countries, and more on keeping our own country secure. U.S. troops stationed across Europe would be brought home, so that we may reevaluate our military resources. There would also be a ban on torturing of detainees, who would also be guaranteed a fair trial through due process.
- Economy: Johnson believes that we should abolish the IRS. He would also cut taxes to businesses so that they may have more money to help stimulate their growth and create jobs. Gary Johnson is also an opponent of bailouts for the auto industry and big banks. States would be given control of education budgets, rather than control being on a federal level, allowing states to spend based on their own needs.
If you would like to learn more about Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party, go to http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/.
Now that you see that there are more than two candidates who could arguably be better suited to sit in the oval office, perhaps your entire view of this election has changed. It isn’t just black and white. You can be fiscally conservative and socially liberal (and vice-versa). Partisanship has failed us to the point where we all look like a bunch of angry cats hissing at each other and crawling back into our little corners.
Our first President, George Washington said it himself: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”
Let’s make a change this November.