I am 47 years old, and if you are anywhere close to my age you know that certain promises were made and not kept. Like flying cars. Every carport was going to have one in the future...the future we are living now! Electricity from nuclear power that was so cheap to produce that it wouldn't pay to have meter readers. Lights, heat, and entertainment would be almost free for the asking.
Neither of these promises has been kept. Of course this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but consider what has been promised. Examples range from youngsters brought into the service with lies to entire native tribes promised little more than honest dealing by the Great White Father in Washington, only to have even those small promises ground underfoot. When a nation is drawn into war across oceans and mountain ranges based on known lies and deceptions, what are we to think? Promises are being broken. Promises much more important that flying cars and free electricity.
One of the most fundamental promises made by the Constitution is the right to associate with like minded people. It's in the First Amendment, and basically says that we can join groups to fight for what we want. Another fundamental promises made by the Constitution is the promise that everyone will be treated equally. That is part of what the Fourteenth Amendment covers.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is breaking those promises. Pennsylvania is treating Democrats and Republicans better than Greens. By demanding that Green Party nominees gather more signatures to run for Governor than Republicans and Democrats, Pennsylvania is making it harder for Greens to work together. Pennsylvania is also treating it's citizens unequally. By making the rules tougher for smaller parties, the state is giving an advantage to one group of citizens over another.
I can hear some scoffing. "Well you idiot, those promises weren't broken. You just don't like the rules. If you don't like the rules, change them. Well guess what? That's exactly what the Green Party of Pennsylvania intends to do. In a press release, the state Greens announced that they were taking the Commonwealth to court to overturn these rules as unconstitutional.
I can still hear the scoffing. Sure, sue someone. Great. You can't win elections so you try to win lawsuits. OK, let's look at the real situation. We are not talking about a small difference here. We are talking about a huge difference here. Democrats and Republicans must gather 2000 signatures to get on the ballot in the Governor's race. Since there are millions of registered Democrats and Republicans across the state it is reasonable to assume that they can confirm every signature as they go, meaning that they might have to gather 2500 signatures to be sure 2000 are qualified. If the Green Party nominee had to gather that same number they would have a harder time of it than Republicans and Democrats. Because there are so many fewer Greens there are not many places you can go and be sure you're getting registered voters. Under this arrangement the Green candidate would likely have to gather closer to 3000 signatures to be sure 2000 were valid.
But Pennsylvania does not require 2000 valid signatures from Green candidates. They expect more signatures. Many more. Not twice as many, or five times as many. Not ten times as many, nor even twenty times as many. Even thirty times as many signatures is not enough. It takes 67,000 signatures to run for Governor in Pennsylvania as a Green. The voter's rights are being destroyed by these rules. These rules are unnecessary, and should be ruled unconstitutional.
Is this academic? Is the Green Party of Pennsylvania engaged in naval gazing? Not at all. There is nothing more vital to the Green agenda than Grassroots Democracy, and the Greens are fierce defenders of that fundamental value. Not only that, the Green Party of Pennsylvania seems to have a first-class candidate in their co-chair, Marakay Rogers. A former candidate for Attorney General in Pennsylvania, Marakay intends to make at least some of that American Promise a reality. The voters of Pennsylvania deserve nothing less.
Gregg Jocoy lives with his wife of 33 years and her mother in Simpsonville, SC. He is dad to two brilliant daughters and granddad to two amazing granddaughters. Jocoy is also active in the South Carolina Green Party
and the Green Party of the