Guest Writings
23/06/04 Want to Get Rid of Bush and Grow the Greens? Support David Cobb By Medea Benjamin

I spent a sleepless night last night thinking about the Nader/Camejo ticket and the Green Party’s dilemma. I love and admire both Nader and Camejo, and have had a close working relationship with both of them for many years. I totally support their anti-war, anti-corporate, pro-democracy message. But I don’t think their campaign will bring us any closer to the world we want to build.

The Nader/Camejo ticket can‚t win, will create tremendous division within the progressive movement and might well help elect George Bush. This would be disastrous for our party, our country and our planet.

In my many trips post 9/11 to Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine, I have seen firsthand how Bush‚s policies have led to the deaths of countless innocent victims (yes, countless, because the Pentagon refuses to count them). I have seen too many women in anguish over the deaths, the maiming, or the illegal detainment of their husbands, sons and daughters. And here at home, I have spent many nights crying with the fathers, mothers and wives of US servicepeople who have been cut down in their prime thanks to Bush’s wars.

George Bush has made our nation the most hated nation on the planet, seriously endangering our safety here at home and overseas. His twin policies of massive tax breaks for the rich and unnecessary wars are making it impossible for us, the richest nation in history, to provide decent public education for our children, decent health care for our elderly, decent public transportation for our cities. And for us Greens desperate to see our nation break out of the fossil fuel economy into to the age of clean energy, Bush‚s intimate ties to the oiligarchy will keep us on disastrous path of oil wars and global warming.

Let‚s be clear. This election is a referendum on the Bush administration. The world is watching and waiting with bated breath to see if the US people will reject the Bush agenda. When I was last in Iraq, Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, an Iraqi engineer, said, “Saddam Hussein was a bastard, but this was not a democracy and we didn’t elect him. So his evil deeds were not done in our name. Can you say the same thing for George Bush?” We owe it to ourselves and to the global community to make sure that Bush is no longer allowed to speak in our name.

We all know that Kerry and the Democrats don‚t represent our values and aspirations; otherwise we wouldn‚t have joined the Greens. Kerry’s support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq is particularly infuriating in light of his courageous stance against the war in Vietnam. I do feel that it is our responsibility during this presidential campaign to protest Kerry’s stand on issues from the war to the Patriot Act to “free trade” agreements. But John Kerry is not George Bush.

So how can we be part of rejecting Bush AND building a progressive party? We can do that by supporting David Cobb. David will spend his time strengthening local Green parties and local candidates, as he has been doing so successfully the past several years. David will focus on states that are not swing states. His “safe state” strategy will allow us to make common cause with our progressive allies, both Democrats and Independents, who feel strongly about the need to remove Bush. His commitment to having a woman vice president will make the Greens attractive to people who have become weary of all-male tickets. And unlike a Nader/Camejo campaign that will alienate so many of our natural allies, David’s campaign will put the Greens in a much stronger position for growing post-November.

Let‚s be part of a growing, exciting coalition of unions, students, communities of color women’s groups, environmentalists, peace organizations, religious folks and millions of outraged individuals who are determined get George Bush out of the White House. Let‚s show them that the Greens understand this historic moment. Let‚s support David Cobb so we can help defeat Bush and grow the Greens!

Medea Benjamin, cofounder of the human rights group Global Exchange and the women‚s peace group Code Pink, ran for US Senate in California on the Green Party ticket in 2000.

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