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Madame President: The Option You’re Not Hearing About

mspencers Icon Posted by Miranda Spencer

May 10th, 2008

Whether or not Hillary Clinton drops out of the presidential race, we’ll still have at least two candidates to fill the shoes of potential First Female Commander in Chief. Namely, Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Kat Swift, who are running (along with two men) under the banner of the Green Party of the United States.

McKinney is the former six-term U.S. representative from Georgia, and one of the few Congress members to challenge the Bush administration’s policies head on. (Unfortunately, her main claim to fame in the press was a scuffle with a security guard. Remember “Much ado about a hairdo”? ) Anyway, check out McKinney’s website.

The youthful Swift is a long-time political activist. Here’s her (admittedly offbeat) website.

The Greens: A Refresher Course
Most people associate the Green Party * with Ralph Nader’s controversial run. But it’s not his baby and never was. Founded in Europe in the early 1980s, the Green Party been active in the United States since 1996.

Most often associated with environmental issues, its platform is actually based on ten “key values:”

Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Ecological Wisdom
Nonviolence
Decentralization
Community-based Economics
Feminism (AHEM)
Diversity
Responsibility
Future Focus

Because the Greens make environmental sustainability a central concern, its Eco-Action Committee recently issued a set of recommended executive orders and legislation for a Green president’s first hundred days in office. Titled “First 100 Days: Energy and Environmental Policy” the call is addressed not only to the Green Party’s national candidates but also as a challenge to Republicans and Democrats — urging them to raise the bar on their environmental platforms.

Here are just some of the enviro-recommendations:

* No new coal fired-power plants; no new nuclear power plants;
reduce by 90% the mercury emissions of coal-fired power plants by 2012;

* Reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide pollutant emissions by 80% by 2020

* Increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 60
mpg for cars and 45 mpg for light trucks by 2012

* Require labeling of imported foods, foods with growth hormones,
and foods produced by Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

* Stop export of any technology abroad for projects that involve
fossil fuel or deforestation

* Protect the rights of Environmental Justice communities to be
free from new proposals for permits that would potentially increase their
burden of toxic contamination, and prioritize these communities for cleanup.

Kind of makes the gas-tax holiday look like an even worse idea than it already is, no?

Consider an Alternative

If McKinney or Swift gets the party nod at the Green’s nominating convention this July, you’ll be able to cast your vote for a woman in the White House who’s not only progressive but also places issues such as global warming and toxic pollutants high on her agenda.

Admittedly, after the 2000 election debacle , most people who don’t want another Republican hawk in the Oval Office are committed to voting Democratic. But if it looks like a landslide for Obama, why not pull the lever (or punch the card or push the electronic screen) for a Lady Green?

*Full disclosure: I am a registered Green, though I vote as an independent. I hope this post will help explain why I’ve made that choice in lieu of remaining a Democrat. Actually, I made the switch after Clinton I: welfare reform, NAFTA, and “extraordinary rendition” made it harder to tell the donkeys from the elephants.

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