Today I am announcing my candidacy as a Green for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District. It is time for radical change, and it is clear that the Democratic Party has abandoned the idea of anything other than upholding the status quo. There have been efforts to “fight back” against Donald Trump’s agenda, the #Resistance, but it has largely been farcical displays of feigned outrage backed by tacit collaboration and support for a murderous agenda overseas and a domestic takeover of our judiciary by radical conservative appointees while the wealth and power becomes further consolidated among the wealthy and powerful.
We’ve had three years of a weak #Resistance movement against the Presidency of Donald Trump, marked by failure, false claims, and a hidden agenda of compliance on the issues that really matter to DC insiders. While the Republicans express publicly their full support of Trump’s agenda of violence, profiteering, and ecological chaos, see how the Democrats vote when it is time to re-up our defense budget. The $738 billion defense budget voted “Yes” on by so many Democrats could build a few renewable energy plants, neighborhoods of affordable family housing, and could also fund a Department of Peace that seeks to uphold diplomacy over militarism.
The failures of the #Resistance, enumerated below, are more than just political embarrassments for the Democrats. These blunders come at the expense of human lives, from Donald Trump’s unopposed support of tyrants like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Narendra Modi of India, and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. Under President Trump’s watch, these regimes and others have enacted brutal policies against political opponents, racial and religious minorities, refugees and migrants, journalists, and climate activists under the guise of “national security.” It remains an increasingly growing concern that a similar era is dawning upon American soil. If that isn’t reason enough for people of conscience to run for office to impact change, I don’t know what is.
The #Resistance brought us Russiagate, a McCarthyist scandal that has only further damaged America’s relationship with Russia, a nation with whom we should be cooperating rather than competing. The Democrats, rather than acknowledge the criminality of their National Committee for rigging its primary in favor of Hillary Clinton — who repeatedly has shown no connection to nor a desire to connect with America’s working class — at the expense of Bernie Sanders’ campaign of radical progressive change, chose to concoct a conspiracy theory where the Kremlin swayed the outcome of electoral contests in a number of states that just happened to be hotbeds of working class Rust Belt voters who would never support a candidate whose husband had depleted their jobs 20 years prior. All of this, when it is our Electoral College, not the popular vote, that determines our next President.
The #Resistance brought us a reality show of an impeachment trial over a diplomatic inquiry into a criminal investigation involving the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. That criminal investigation should still take place. This isn’t about pursuing political vendettas, but instead pursuing justice for those who have denied it for the victims of America’s foreign policies since the end of the Cold War. Our financial interference, political meddling, and military actions in other countries’ affairs would warrant action on our part if a competing superpower were to do the same to one of our allies. Julian Assange should not be our top-wanted fugitive, he should be the prosecution’s most sought-after witness in a trial at the International Criminal Court to indict former Presidents and their administrations for crimes against humanity, while also holding accountable their lackeys in the corporate media for propagandizing the mass slaughter of innocents abroad into something for ratings.
The #Resistance brought us the #MeToo movement, which brought to mainstream attention the widespread pattern of sexually abusive men in power from Washington DC to Los Angeles. My anarchist beliefs favor prison abolition by and large, but for those who perpetuate sexual abuse on women and children, the phrase “fire to the prisons” could perhaps only apply after they were locked inside. That said, while #MeToo proved to be a day of reckoning for many, after another rigged primary — more on that later — the National Committee appears ready to coronate a dementia-stricken war criminal who, regardless of the validity of Tara Reade’s claims which I am inclined to believe, is seen on camera groping women and children. Repeatedly. Once accused of it, he laughed it off and even joked about it. My response now remains what it was then: behold your candidate, Democrats.
The #Resistance also brought us a clever primary strategy where Democrats of every stripe flooded the field of contestants, some little more than warm bodies with scripted one-liners in defense of banks (John Delaney, anyone?), Wall Street, or that week’s darling candidate (Beto O’Rourke in particular comes to mind,) others running on singular issues that had been hand-picked from Sanders’ all-encompassing platform, such as Andrew Yang’s proposal for Universal Basic Income (UBI), two fantastic women of color who were wrongly edged out of the debates and singled out for their District Attorney pasts, in the respective cases of Tulsi Gabbard and Kamala Harris, with eventually a half-dozen candidates appearing to make the final stretch. Even Mike Bloomberg decided to get in on the fun, flooding primetime TV this winter with his obnoxious, patronizing, race-baiting ads that did little to hide that he’s simply a camera-shy Trump who has pumped some serious money into Team Blue.
But then they all dropped out…and endorsed latecomer Joe Biden, with several primary winners giving their delegates to the presumed frontrunner. For some reason, I’m reminded of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, where (spoiler alert) there isn’t one killer guilty of thirteen stab wounds, but instead thirteen killers guilty of one stab wound each.
Of course, none of this is meant to endorse Donald Trump or the Republican Party that supports him. I accept he is the President, but that doesn’t alter that I think he is a sociopath and something of an “evil genius.” This is not a compliment. The Democrats and the neoliberal reaction to Trump’s populism by painting him as an inept buffoon backfired. It only emboldened him with a tactic he can deploy, where a handful of outlandish statements from a thirty-minute speech attract media attention, while his rightful condemnation of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, and China’s “developing country” status being a source of unfair economic advantage (and for a regime that is so consistently brutal in terms of human rights) go ignored. The collective mischaracterization of Trump as a moron by liberal politicians and pundits reinforced the “DC insider” narrative, which the President has played to his advantage as needing to “drain the swamp” of career politicians and their media spokespeople. Now, he isn’t really doing that at all, because there’d have to be a similar day of reckoning in the GOP, but it sure makes for some frightening rally footage, furthering the outrage. It’s a negative feedback loop that has gaslit the American viewing public into normalizing and accepting an administration fueled by hate and greed.
Beyond the moralist argument against the present state of the Republican Party is that their policies don’t make sense. They’re the party of states’ rights, but they also want cannabis to remain federally illegal. Some Republicans have opened up to the idea of legalization because they recognize its future as America’s next cash crop, but consider the paleoconservative stance of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who once said he withdrew his endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan because he learned they smoked pot. How do Republicans reconcile their borderline libertarian stance on personal freedom and responsibility with their desire for strict governance over the prohibition of abortion? How can they be anti-abortion but pro-war and still call themselves (in many cases) Christians?
If elected, I will be a voice fighting to change our agenda abroad to one of peace and diplomacy. I will fight to end our illegal wars. I will also fight Wall Street and the big banks with a radical policy: tax Wall Street transactions and end the collecting of interest on all financial transactions. The compounding of interest on loans is by nature a predatory practice and does nothing to establish trust with the lender. I will fight to make the original Green New Deal, central to the 2012 and 2016 Presidential campaign of Jill Stein, the reformative policy it should be. The original bill includes proposals that will radically transform America’s infrastructure, labor force, energy policy, and create a system of economic justice where everyone stands to prosper.
I stand for civil rights. I believe Black Lives Matter. I believe no person should live in fear because of their identity, belief, citizenship, or ability. I recognize the sanctity of life in that we all are made in the image of our Creator, and that our daily lives would be happier if everyone took the time to acknowledge that universal truth. My faith has motivated me throughout my adult life to serve others in various capacities, personally and professionally, lending my talents, words, and actions to help others stand up in the face of injustice.
What I lack in formal experience as an elected official I make up for in my efforts to protect communities from oppression. As a civil rights activist, I challenged the TSA for discriminatory practices against Sikh Americans. I was part of a push for the FBI to classify hate crimes based on specific religious groups. In Portland, I led a movement for the city to divest its money from banks that supported the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Recently, I aided in an effort for Congress to ask the State Department to enact a refugee relocation program for Afghani Hindus and Sikhs, who are presently under threat from the Taliban. I intend to use this campaign to further my efforts to engage with Congress in the name of human rights, especially with the office of my opponent, incumbent Earl Blumenauer.
Though my words against some Democrats have been strong, I harbor no ill will against Congressman Blumenauer. He has a fine record, and there are many things on which we agree. He’s a friend of the environment, of wildlife, and of farmers. He’s a proponent of public transit and the mobilization of Americans on bicycles as a viable means of transportation in a modern landscape. He’s one of the most pot-friendly legislators in Congress. On all of these issues, he and I are in total agreement. We’re both opposed to that damn wall. He voted against the creation of ICE twenty years ago, and I look forward to casting a vote for its abolition from the seat he currently occupies. I hope at some point in this contest we can sit down and discuss the issues.
Another hope of mine with this campaign is to help showcase the possibilities of citizen activism without resorting to the chaos and destruction that has taken place in our streets. Portland has seen its share of street violence due to political protests, some of which I saw firsthand. The glorification of violence, up to and including murder, truly on both sides (the Right threatens helicopter drops for Antifa, the Left threatens the guillotine for cops and electeds), has led to and will only continue to lead to murder. When the silly string and pepper spray settles, we’re still each other’s neighbors. Hate has no place in our society, regardless of our country’s violent past. Abandoning such polarity is part of our collective decolonization.
To the pro-pot Republicans who don’t have hooded robes in their closets, I say consider joining the Green Party. We don’t have to agree on everything, that’s what caucuses are for. To progressives and other Democrats who feel left in the dust by the corporatists, come join the Green Party. Leftists — Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists — consider your ideas welcome within the Green Party. All ships can rise together, and the Green platform of peace, solidarity, sustainability, and social justice is likely already your platform. Vote your conscience and watch us win.