Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney described the four pillars of the Green Party – peace, social justice, ecological wisdom and grass roots democracy. She described the situation we face today as akin to 160 years ago when a few hundred people got together to work for the right of woman to vote. They achieved their end and so can we by “declaring our independence” and pointed out how she declared her independence one year ago in front of the Pentagon. She no longer wanted to be complicit in illegal wars, detentions without trial, torture and environmental destruction. Voters need to declare their independence from “conformity and control” by voting their values. “It would be a very different country if Americans voted their values,” McKinney concluded.
Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party described how he was a Republicans who worked for President Reagan’s election and worked with Jerry Falwell becoming the executive director of the Moral Majority. But, in the 1990s he found that the Republican Party had lost its way and he concluded the Republican Party was not fixable. He argued that the “parties have a stranglehold over the political process and are choking the lifeblood out of our country.” He sees the debate as between globalists like McCain and Obama and constitutionalists.
Independent Ralph Nader described the agreement of the four candidates on the statement of principles as “the beginning of a realignment of American politics.” He sees the issues raised as pointing to a “crisis in constitutional government.” Nader described the U.S. Constitution as something that has been “degraded, violated, nullified and twisted out of any semblance of it real meaning.” Nader urged people to pledge on Constitution Day (September 17th) to support candidates who will defend the Constitution (www.ConstitutionPledge.com). He believes that the media needs to reassess how it covers presidential election by sponsoring its own debates and breaking with the Democrats and Republicans private corporation that manipulates debates. He also urged to “stop wallowing in trivia like the current lipstick-gate” which he describes as “demeaning to the media, the people and the United States’ standing in the world.”
During the question and answer session the weakness in U.S. democracy came up – the fraudulent debates, the unfair ballot access laws, the poor media coverage, the massive disenfranchisement of voters, the lack of transparency and manipulation of electronic voting machines. Nader described “democracy being destroyed on the installment plan in an escalated way.” Paul said the real wasted vote is voting for one of the two parties and not for what you want. Baldwin updated Wallace’s comment, citing inflation, saying “there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between the two parties.” And, McKinney urged people to see the movie “American Blackout” and warned that unresolved problems in American democracy are being “compounded.”
One suggestion made to avoid the trap of the fear of the greater evil is Vote Pact (www.VotePact.org) where unenthusiastic McCain or Obama supporters agree that both will support a third party candidate instead of the Democrat or Republican.
The Ron Paul press conference came at a time when third party and independent candidates are showing strength in key battle ground states where together they are garnering more than 10% of the vote. At this point, with the race between Obama and McCain in the low single digits the votes for the alternative candidates is likely to affect the outcome of the election.
With the strong group of third party and independent candidates – including two former members of Congress, one from each party, Ralph Nader, the most successful community organizer running for president and Chuck Baldwin, the former executive director of Moral Majority – and the reality that they could impact the outcome of the election – it is impressive how the mainstream media has been steadfast in ignoring these candidates as well as the issues they stand for. As Ron Paul said, perhaps now that the four have joined together to highlight four key issues maybe the media will recognize there is something important to cover here. Who knows, maybe the media will even ask McCain and Obama their views of the four points raised in their joint statement.