As I looked over and contemplated my glib list of problems, politically, with America, it became glaringly clear that the Democrats and Republicans don't have the solutions. They are too entrenched and powerful to come up with big, new ideas to fix big, new problems. I've known this for quite a while, of course, on some level I think we all do, but the idea is continually sharpening in my mind. As a Mormon with the political convictions that I have, I feel more and more compelled to cast my lot with the Green Party.
The Green Party is best known for running Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election and siphoning off a small but substantial number of votes that may or may not have given the election to George W. Bush over Al Gore. Nader argued, though, essentially, that this is no big loss because there were no major differences between Bush and Gore: "Both parties are selling our government to big business paymasters. . . That's a pretty serious similarity". In retrospect, with Pres. Bush turning out to be one of the worst presidents in American history, the difference between Bush and Gore might have been more pronounced, but in general terms I'm with Nader on this.
Nader never actually joined the Green Party, however, and generally runs as an independent, and that was probably the peak of the party's influence. But the Green Party is still one of the largest third parties in America and offers real choice to Americans who don't get it in a D v. R election. But I'm not naive enough to think that we'll start getting Green Party candidates elected in any real numbers any time soon. No, this is about ideas and starting conversations that we're generally not having.
The Green Party is based on 10 Key Values:
- Grassroots Democracy
- Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
- Ecological Wisdom
- Community Based Economics
- Feminism and Gender Equality
- Respect for Diversity
- Personal and Global Responsibility
- Future Focus and Sustainability
There's a lot packed in there, as you will see if you want to follow that link, and of course as a thinking adult I can't get behind everything the Green Party stands for, but this lines up more with my political and religious convictions than anything else out there.
The economic ideas remind me of the early days of the church, and especially the early church in Utah: economies based on local communities and the idea of local self-sufficiency and sustainability.
The social ideas are closer to the principles taught by Christ than what we see in our political parties today: non-violence, respect for diversity, personal responsibility, and intense caring for the poor and vulnerable.
And as an ardent environmentalist, and someone who thinks ecological wisdom is a proper fit with Mormonism, the Green Party is a natural fit.
I haven't lost all hope for America, but I'm not enamored with how things are going. I think the Green Party offers ideas that deserve serious consideration and I want to try to express some of them on this blog and show how they are fully compatible with Mormonism. It's time to explore the union of Mormon and Green.