Last night, I watched the videos that I posted yesterday of the Green Party debate which occurred on Sunday. After watching the debate I agree with what Jared Ball said, it was more of a discussion than a debate. A discussion makes more sense when the Green Party convenes anyway. Below is my review of each of the candidates as well as a couple of my differences with what I heard in the discussion. ...
I will review each candidate as they appeared on stage from right to left, as that was the order they responded to questions. As a non-candidate I will review Ralph Nader last.
Dr. Jared Ball
Dr. Ball did not speak to me, at least not directly, and that was the point. He is working to get the word out to the community about the Green Party through the hip hop movement. I have always said that if you can get the 50%+ of voting aged American's that do not vote into the polls to vote for a cause you could start a revolution. Ladies and gentlemen, Jared Ball could very well be that revolutionary.
Dr. Kent Mesplay
Dr. Mesplay was very intelligent and put thoughts together well. He was very clear on almost all topics presented to him and it was obvious where he stood with each. He was a little subdued throughout the discussion but I did see some fire from him in his closing arguments. He was a great counterpoint to Dr. Jared Ball whose answers he followed in the debate.
As a six-term former member of Congress from Georgia( the first black congresswoman from that state ), she definately has the most high level political experience in the group of candidates. All of her responses showed that experience as many of the issues she had already dealt with on the congressional floor and in committee. I don't really need to say much about her as she speaks for herself, and quite well.
What were you doing ( or are planning to do ) when you were 34? Were you running for President of the United States of America? The fact that she is running for President speaks volumes to her courage. Unfortunately she had to follow Cynthia McKinney for most question all night and that had a spotlight on her inexperience in high level politics. However, she did make a run for mayor as a Green Party candidate in the state of Texas and received 30% of the vote with 1/20th of the budget. Perhaps her strategy of speak the truth and people will vote for it works.
Technically he is not a candidate, as he stated in his opening statement. That is based on the fact that he is the chair of the West Virginia Mountain party and is not allowed to hold or seek political office. That is really not important, as he was a great speaker to have at this event. His acting experience combined with his passion give his words a tremendous amount of power. He has presence.
While it is very clear that Ralph Nader isn't a candidate at this point, it was important that he was at this event. His opening statement was a powerhouse. In many ways it reminded me of the way Bill Clinton speaks. He doesn't tell you what to think directly but rather inspires you to think about what he is saying. It even had a dash of humor that garnered some laughs with the line, "there are people who really get angry about that." It is obvious why the Green Party wants to draft Nader as a Presidential nominee.
While I can agree with almost everything I have 2 points of contention with statements made last night.
1. Be a politician
I heard a few of them say that they were not politicians and I can understand why. The word politician has some nasty stuff associated with it, but that is not what it means at its core. I liken it to when I was in sales. At first I hated being called a salesman because of the negative connotations associated with the word, and I did poorly. At some point I saw that it was possible to be a salesperson and hold on to my personal values and take care of the customer the way I wanted. When I accepted the fact that I was a salesperson and sold to people based on my personal values I excelled as a salesperson. We must accept that it is possible to be a politician who acts from their personal values. Be the shining example of what is possible. Be the reason people need to wake up and start voting for Green Party( or any third party ) candidate. You aren't business as usual. You aren't a Democrat. You aren't a Republican. You are a Green Party politician and you don't act like the politicians people are used to.
2. Make distinctions between the office and the office holder
Language is a powerful thing and with great power comes great responsibility. The office of The President of the United States should talked about with respect in all cases, even when the person holding the office is not held in high regard. When you speak down about the office holder it needs to be clear that you are talking about the individual and not "The President." The main reason is that when you finally achieve that position, you do not want people to mistrust you just because you have the position you spoke so poorly of. This goes for all political positions that Green Party members are striving for.
Daryl Joseph Ducharme is a proud member of the North Carolina Green Party