Guest Viewpoint for Saturday — October 25, 2003

• Red-baiting of Green Party


Red-baiting of Green Party

I have become increasingly disturbed by the offensive tone of guest columnist William Rusher in pieces published by TGI on October 1 and 21. The headline last Tuesday read: “How Red is the Green Party”, and was written in larger capital letters than any other headline in the paper.

Mr. Rusher characterizes Peter Camejo, the Green Party’s candidate, as “a rabid leftist, who didn’t bother to conceal the streak of hatred so typical of leftists.” Evidently he came away from the debates with a very different impression of Mr. Camejo than recent polls. After the September 24 “Super Bowl” debate, 32% of respondents chose Camejo as the winner in a poll conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle. The Los Angeles Times found that among Democrats, 25% saw Camejo as the winner, compared to 13% for Democrat Bustamante. Camejo’s favorable ratings increased after each debate, according to a California Field Poll, with upwards of 2 million Californians giving Camejo’s candidacy positive marks by the end of the campaign.

Evidently, many people welcome new ideas and new voices to public debate. The Green Party is that voice.

Hate is the antithesis of Green values, and is not at all what Peter Camejo or any other Green Party candidate advocates.

Mr. Rusher goes too far when he states that the Green Party “should be renamed the Red Party”. This type of red-baiting harkens back to the bad old days of McCarthyism, and has no place in the post-Cold War world. By publishing such inflammatory rhetoric, The Garden Island does a disservice to civilized political discourse.

Peter Camejo is, in fact, a 63-year-old businessman and stock broker who pioneered the field of socially conscious investing for people who want to put their money where their values are. How does that jive with Rusher’s preposterous accusation that Camejo is a “Trotskyite Communist”?

Locally the Green Party of Hawaii is comprised of members from all walks of life, including businesspeople, university professors, gardeners, parents and grandparents. We are your neighbors and friends, working on community issues such as peace, property tax justice, and protection of the ‘aina.

Currently there are 177 Greens in elected office across the country, including Bob Jacobsen on the Big Island. Mr. Jacobsen was elected to a Hawai‘i County Council seat which has been occupied by Greens for tweleve consecutive years.

The Ten Key Green Values are the guiding principles for our programs and actions:

Grassroots Democracy

Every human being deserves to be included in the decisions that affect their lives. That means increasing public participation in every level of government, and ensuring that our politicians are fully accountable to the people they represent.

Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

Everyone should have the same rights and opportunities to benefit equally from available resources. We must consciously confront barriers such as racism, sexism, class oppression, homophobia, ageism and discrimination against disabled.

Ecological Wisdom

We are a part of nature, and we must protect nature’s delicate ecological balance. We must live within the limits of the resources in our community and our planet. Our lifestyles and agricultural practices must replenish the Earth and respect the integrity of natural systems.

Non-violence

The current patterns of violence in our society and between nations are unacceptable, and it is critical that we develop alternative methods to resolve disagreements. We work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our goal is to achieve lasting personal, community and global peace.

Decentralization

Centralization of wealth and power mostly benefits the powerful few, and contributes to injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. We support greater democracy and less bureaucracy, with decision-making at the local and individual level.

Community-based Economics and Economic Justice

It is essential to create a sustainable economic system that offers meaningful work at a living wage and provides a decent standard of living for all people.

Gender Equality

Male domination and control in the personal, political and economic realms are slowly being replaced with more respectful, cooperative and egalitarian ways of interacting.

Resprect for and Celebration of Diversity

It is important to value and celebrate the rich diversity of cultures, ethnicities, races, spiritual practices, and sexual orientations in our communities.

Personal and Global Responsibility

We seek to foster personal well-being, peace, economic justice, and planetary health.

Future Focus and Sustainability

Our actions and policies should seek to protect valuable natural resources for future generations.

The Green Party is the only international peace party in the world. The Global Greens Network is comprised of Green Parties in 72 nations on every populated continent.

The Green Party does not accept money, directly or indirectly, from corporations or banks to ensure that corporate greed does not influence our agenda or violate our principles.

Greens stand for peopleís needs over corporate profit and greed, peace over war, and truth over lies.

The corporate-controlled media generally does not include Green voices (or even the voice of progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich) in it’s coverage of political debate. True freedom of speech can only flourish when all voices are heard in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Claire Mortimer

Kilauea

State Co-Chair, Green Party of Hawai‘i Chair, Green Party of Kaua‘i

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