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Growing the Green Party is an Imperative: A Referendum on the Democratic Party in 2008

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For most, the thought of a Green Party president being inaugurated in 2009 is not plausible even if it would do wonders for blacks and women in this country. The thought is not preposterous to the Green Party, which I watched vote and decide to support Cynthia McKinney as the party's presidential nominee for the 2008 election last Saturday, July 12th, 2008.

The voting process along with the voting on the party's platform prior to the presidential vote was a robust example of what democracy should look like. Frenetic energy coupled with shouting and chanting, a hustle and bustle here and there---All of this created a cacophony of political hubbub that was euphoric to anyone sick and tired with Democrats and Republicans (especially Democrats and Republicans in Congress).

Prior to the convention, a presidential forum with the four finalists for the Green Party presidential nomination was held and was a shining example of what the Democratic presidential debates should be. The four fed off of each other in their answers as if they were friends who really didn't care who got the nomination so long as it was one of the four participating in the debate.

The four finalists included Jesse Johnson, Cynthia McKinney, Kent Mesplay, and Kat Swift. Jesse Johnson ran one of the most impressive third party gubernatorial campaigns in West Virginia in 2004 and spearheaded the rise of the Mountain Party in West Virginia (now a Green Party affiliate) by tirelessly advocating for the end of mountaintop removal for coal production in the Appalachian region. Cynthia McKinney served in Congress for 12 years and was the first member of the House to introduce articles of impeachment for Bush. Kent Mesplay is a highly qualified environmental expert---an air quality inspector who works during the week as an air quality inspector and who, up until the nomination, ran for president on the weekends. Kat Swift is a former co-chair of the Green Party in Texas and a spokesperson for the Green’s National Women’s Caucus. She is an expert on women’s issues.

The issues discussed in the forum showed why the Green Party is essential to American politics. The talk during the forum focused on energy policy that would provide jobs and support wind and solar, the impending water crisis, transforming the military industrial complex into something that is less focused on security and more focused on sustainability, putting an end to mountaintop removal for coal, ending the U.S.'s perpetuation of a conflict between Israel and Palestine, etc.


The easiness and empathetic nature of the convention was the norm from beginning to end. There were no qualms over Cynthia McKinney’s decision to ask Rosa Clemente to be her vice president even though it had only been 10 days since requested she be her vice president. The speeches and interviews in press conferences were less about the Democrats and Republicans the party owes its rise to and more about creating a movement to grow the Green Party—the imperative of growing the Green Party as an opposition party to the interests in Washington and the elected leaders entrenched in those interests.

The only noticeable frustration seen was a frustration with the amount of media coverage.

During press conferences, it was pointed out that while this was a presidential convention only 20 people from news organizations were here covering the nomination of the Green Party candidate for president. (This all despite the fact that the Green Party will be on at least 35 state ballots in this presidential election.)

The mainstream media does not want to cover the Green Party because it infects the narrative or storyline they are creating between Obama and McCain plus the Green Party is antithetical to the very corporations that own the broadcast news companies in this country.

Thankfully, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a surprisingly “objective” article on Cynthia McKinney winning the nomination. The AJC has a history with McKinney of antagonism that includes running a political cartoon with her hair frizzed out while she holds up a convenience store with a gun.

But C-SPAN, whose name was featured on all the complimentary bags carried by Green Party delegates and members at the convention, did not come through (at this point). While they filmed much more, they only plan to air about fifteen minutes of the convention---McKinney’s acceptance speech. These fifteen minutes would be part of a half hour that would be followed by Bob Barr’s acceptance speech, the Libertarian candidate for president. (Note: C-SPAN covered the Libertarian convention from gavel to gavel.)

The progressive media, sadly, has dropped the ball. If the progressive media is truly the progressive news media, in-depth coverage is most definitely owed to one of the two presidential candidates running with a progressive platform for revolutionizing this country. The progressive media must be there to fight news segments like the one FOX News aired with John Gibson demeaning the McKinney-Clemente Green Party ticket.

Go to BuzzFlash.net, AlterNet.org, The Nation, Daily Kos, Truthout, InTheseTimes, The Progressive, and even OpEdNews---You will find very limited coverage on the future of Cynthia McKinney’s campaign and the role of the Green Party in the 2008 election from local to state to federal elections.

The failure exemplifies the reality that these so-called progressive news entities have writers, publishers, and editors more interested in content that mediates between those unhappy with Obama and those excited to support him.

The progressive media currently prefers to put band-aids on growing wounds within the Democratic Party and progressive base while planting ideas that any other choice will “spoil” Obama's election, creating fear in the minds of readers about “the real McCain”, and offering little to no vision for the future of progressive politics believing it should get out of the way of Obama and just let him get elected.

The decision to become lapdogs for Obama and the Democratic Party like the mainstream media became lapdogs for the Bush Administration is disheartening. Frustrating.

A few writers for these progressive news sites like John Nichols keep their integrity and work to maintain the integrity of the progressive news media they are writing and publishing for. For most, few forget that they have a duty to cover the advancement and developments in progressive politics that are related to progressive issues and instead become sucked in to posting pieces that almost fully accept the narrative being created by the corporate media.

(*In my attempt to address progressive politics and progressive issues, I was banned from DemocraticUnderground.com a couple weeks ago. DU maintains the idea that Democrats or progressives can express discontent but at the end of the day, should not reject the nominee for president that forsakes so many hard-working dedicated progressive activists in America.)

This critique is not a smear nor a blast directed at the alternative and independent news media but a challenge to be the media this nation requires now. The news media should be covering all developments related to the Nader’s Issues that are off the table for Democrats and Republicans and the Ten Key Values of the Green Party. This should be done not for the advancement of those candidacies but for the future of this country that the current Democratic and Republican presidential nominees seem to be inconsiderate of preferring to offer shortsighted answers to long-existing and rather complex problems.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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