Points By Drew Pritt

An Open Note to the Green Party
July 10, 2008, 3:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As you gather in Chicago to nominate a President, it reminds me of another political convention I attended in that city in 1996. Now you can decide whether or not to read this post throughout, but my hope is you will. Presently, The Green Party here in America has 231 elected officials around the country, mostly small-town mayors or members of school boards, library boards or town councils. There is an odds on chance you might win a State Legislative seat here in Arkansas. In fact, the man who carried your party’s banner for Governor of Arkansas, had a lot of credibility. The Green Party is seen as more than a protest party or a party of sending a message, but a viable force that is building and may eventually become the American version of England’s Liberal Democrats. I mean that to say you could win legislative, Congressional, maybe even eventually a Governor’s office and more. But first it begins with who carries the banner of your party.

Yes you have four nominees for President. The press talks alot about former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. You know, I have problems with her candidacy. You see, running for President should mean that you have someone who has earned the right to represent the party, not use the party for political expiediency.

In 2006, I almost ran for Lt. Governor of Arkansas as a Green. I had run previously that year as a Democrat for Lt. Governor and was the 1st openly gay individual to run for statewide office. I really struggled because many of the core values of the Green Party, I agree with, and represent my philosphy. But when it came down to it….I still identified and considered myself a Democrat. My cousin, former State Senator Charlotte Pritt of West Virginia, who in 1996 was the 1st woman nominated for Governor of her state, has faced a similar predicament in her state, and declined chances to run before because she felt at least at that time she still was a Democrat.

However, the individual nominated to run for Governor of Arkansas was former State Representative Jim Lendall, who served in the State Legislature as both a Democrat and an Independent. Jim Lendall is respected by many progressives. He has a reputation of fighting the good fight when others have hestitated to do so. Because he had a reputation as a progressive but also as someone who was credible, the Green Party gained in stature. He also did well enough to gain major party status for the Green Party in Arkansas. Also, your nominee for Attorney General, Rebekah Kennedy, energized the progressive community and earned 15% of the vote. She is now running for U.S. Senate and is the ONLY opponent against U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D).

Cynthia McKinney obviously, suddenly does not consider herself a Democrat, although she identified herself as late as last year as a Democrat. But to be honest, I could not vote for your party, and I doubt neither could other progressives if you nominate this individual. Cynthia McKinney has openly attacked members of the Jewish community. I am Jewish by heritage and I find her statements heinous and rather distasteful in the very least.

I remember the Cynthia McKinney I shared a shuttle bus with, at that same convention in Chicago I mentioned above, in 1996. She was positive and full of promise. She seemed to be invisible and I said at that moment she could be the first African-American Governor of Georgia. She quickly corrected me on that crowded bus and said the U.S. Senate. Something happened….something changed. She became divisive, obstructionist, and one who doesn’t look to unite but to divide. I mean she struck a Capitol Hill Police Officer. The main reason is because of the fact he didn’t recognize her as a member of Congress. She seems to have had her honor stained by this misidentity and she struck him.

How can a party that promotes peace and community nominate someone who believes more in self-promotion and strikes people doing their jobs??!!! 

If she is the nominee of your party, her actions and statements will be not much different than the strategy and actions of a liberal Alan Keyes, becoming an irritant rather than one who is seen as a potential President. Cynthia McKinney, like H. Ross Perot in 1996, or Bob Barr this year, would do more to harm the gains your party has painstakingly made over the years.

For those of us who are in the Progressive Community, in the GLBT Community, in the Jewish-American community, and in many voting communities….the choice of Cynthia McKinney is no choice at all.

Now it so happens that I know one of the other nominees you have for President. I am sure any McKinney stalwarts who read this will assume this was planned or that this is a blatant, calculated move for an anti-McKinney opponent. Let me settle that argument now. I call them as I see them and these words are from the heart.

Jesse Johnson is someone I knew at a difficult period in my life. He took the time to mentor me and be a friend. His mother, Fannie, also is a good mentor in my life who I view with fondness like one would family. Both of them represent some of the best that there is in life. Jesse Johnson is passionate and he’s honest. He is honest in a way rarely seen in American politics. But he is also a uniter. He knows how to build coalitions. I have seen Jesse Johnson speak with a fire about the moral imperative to stop the environmental plundering of his home state, West Virginia, by corporate interests at the expense of the people. Since then, Jesse Johnson has expanded his policies to include providing education and quality healthcare to all Americans by reining in the military-industrial complex. These are goals we should all support and seek a President to promote. Jesse Johnson represents the best that the Green Party has to offer. He would represent the Green Party with pride.

In the end, should the Green Party nominee for President find themselves in a perfect storm like Jesse Ventura found himself in the ’98 Minnesota Governor’s race or the ’94 Maine Governor’s race found with Angus King, you have to ask yourself who is the best equipped to take over as President?

Jesse Johnson has worked on a seismographic ship, as a noted actor, a stage producer, and a country-line dancer. Thats one thing electorally that will help him that I doubt Obama or McCain could copy. He helped form the United Electrical Workers Union in West Virginia in 2006. He was the first gubernatorial candidate in the history of West Virginia to secure his place on the general election ballot before the primary election in 2002. In 2007, as Chair of the Mountain Party, he worked with Green Party co-Chair Steve Kramer to bring the Mountain Party into the world community of Green Parties, where they belong, as an affiliate of the GPUS. He continues to work toward that union, recently winning litigation in his state that now allows the GPUS to use the Mountain Party’s ballot line, even as he runs for the Presidential nomination himself. Also, he has the endorsement of former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska.

Many voters could vote for Jesse Johnson for President and know the principles and the rhetoric match the actions of the individual.

Every party has the final say. Cynthia McKinney says power to the people….I say A President Of The People, For The People, From The People….That President is Jesse Johnson!!!


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[…] drewpritt ’s post is one of my favorite picks for today. Check out the post An Open Note to the Green Party below. I highly recommend viewing the full post! […]

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[…] Pritt, the first openly gay man to run for statewide office in Arkansas, says that he doesn’t think he could vote Green if Cynthia McKinney is the party’s nominee […]

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The Green Party must really be confused and desperate. After watching Cynthia McKinney’s behavior, hitting the Capitol Hill police officer, in 2006, I couldn’t imagine her running for dog catcher. Why would anybody in their right mind elect McKinney to anything … let alone the Presidency of the United States?

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