Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'We have to impeach George Bush!'

Every time Jon Stewart mentions "still-President Bush" on The Daily Show, I have to chuckle. I get it. So many Americans, including lots of diehard Republicans, are so tired of this administration that it's hard to believe Bush is still in office. Is he still President? Really?

But when the conversation turns to impeachment, I generally adopt a "let's just get all this over with" attitude. I want to move on to whatever is next and not get mired in impeachment proceedings. I like the high road, and I especially like to think I'm on it when it comes to my lofty opinions.

That said, you can only imagine how I felt when I was startled out of a dead sleep with the words "We have to impeach George Bush! We have to! We don't have a choice!" These were audible, sleep-defying words. It was as if someone was shouting them in my ear.

I don't know what to make of this. It's not as if I was thinking about impeachment or Bush or anything else political before I fell asleep. In fact, I had been reading The Shack, not exactly political fare. And I don't think I was dreaming politically either.

Someone, somewhere, help me. What should I make of this? I can't shake the sensation that those words came from somewhere outside of me; they didn't originate in my own mind. And no, my husband didn't utter them. He was snoring contentedly, his sleep undisturbed by political maneuverings. What would you think if this happened to you?

Monday, July 28, 2008

'We the Purple' Poll: Obama Ahead

Each month on the We the Purple Web site, we conduct a poll of some kind. Well, that's not quite accurate. We conduct a poll whenever I think to change the content, and so far, "some kind" has meant presidential preference.

Just so you know, our highly scientific results from the recently ended poll, which still had Hillary Clinton in the running (yes, I'm embarrassed but overworked), shows Barack Obama way ahead, with more than twice the votes cast for John McCain. Clinton, by the way, nosed out Nader by a mere 5 votes.

We don't request and therefore don't keep demographic data on those who vote in the poll or those who sign up on the site for my irregular but brilliant newsletter. It's safe to assume, though, that visitors and poll participants are either readers or potential readers of We the Purple: Faith, Politics and the Independent Voter.

Nowhere in the book, or even on this blog, do I mention my own choice for president; no one cast a vote simply because the agree with me, since they have no idea whether or not they do. Those votes merely confirm what I've sensed for the last four months or so: that if the independent vote is the deciding factor in this race—as everyone says it is and as we independents know it is—this election truly is Obama's to lose.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Calling All Colorado Independents!

In late August I'll be hosting a caucus where Colorado independents can get together and talk about the presidential election and the political reform issues we want the next White House to address.

Because we're so spread out here, we'll likely do this via conference call. If we get enough responses from one area—say, Denver—some of us may be able to get together in person and do a conference call with those unable to physically attend.

I think this will be a great opportunity for Colorado independents to finally talk to each other about the things that are important to us.

Stay tuned for the date, time and possible location. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from everyone who wants to participate!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Green Party: An Alternative for Progressive Christians?

One of the most frequent comments I hear when I'm out talking independent politics goes something like this: "Okay, so I know I'm not a Republican anymore, but I'm not happy with the Democrats either. Where can I go?" If the political seeker rejects my incredibly persuasive argument to just be independent, the conversation turns to third parties --- and these days, that often means the Green Party, which just wrapped up its 2008 presidential nominating convention.

So what about the Greens? For progressives, are they a viable alternative to the major parties? There's certainly a lot to be said in their favor; for one, they don't accept corporate donations, and that alone is enough to make me swoon. And their four abiding principles are grassroots democracy, social justice, ecology, and nonviolence. Not a lot to argue with there.

On social issues, Greens favor abortion rights, same-sex marriage rights, amnesty for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare, reduction in deficit spending, gun control, legalization of drugs and fair trade. They oppose the war in Iraq, capital punishment and school prayer. They are strong advocates of political and electoral reform --- not surprising, since their candidates are frequent victims of policies, rules and regulations devised by the two major parties that are designed to exclude them from the political process entirely. Their 2008 platform, which you can find at, also addresses numerous human rights issues.

If that platform resonates with you, then maybe Green is the way to go. But you can't join a party like the Greens and expect to make changes from within on issues you disagree with. They're not likely to change their strong stance on reproductive rights, for example. Ironically, you won't find as much diversity of opinion in third parties as you find in major parties; their positions on issues are often tightly worded, carefully crafted, well-honed statements that represent hills to die on. That's not a bad thing --- the major parties should be so clear on their positions! --- but it's something you should be aware of.

And before you make the leap from a major party to any third party, it helps to understand some fundamentals about minor-party politics. You need to be prepared to face defeat and disappointment with optimism, because you won't survive otherwise. Greens are in this for the long haul; they're concerned less about election losses, especially on the national level, and more about building a party and a movement so that one day those national victories will come more easily. You can expect to be asked to get involved, because Greens, like any other third party, cannot make it without the assistance of an army of volunteers. Finally, it helps to be ready to handle the attacks that are sure to come your way from people who call you a spoiler, question your sanity and berate you for supporting Cynthia McKinney for president, even if you don't.

McKinney, a former member of Congress from Georgia, is the Green Party presidential nominee this year. You may remember her as the representative who thwacked a U.S, Capitol Police officer with her cell phone after she was stopped at a security checkpoint in 2006. Not every Green is thrilled with her nomination --- this is a political party, after all, with plenty of infighting and dissension and charges of backroom deals --- but since she has no chance of winning, they're generally glad to have a nominee with name recognition and a congressional track record who might garner some media attention and thus help other Green candidates running for state offices.

Carl Romanelli, one of my favorite political candidates in the entire U.S. of A., ran for U.S. Senate on the Green Party ticket in Pennsylvania in 2006, or at least tried to until the Democrats derailed his campaign and sued him for what at last count was $100,000-plus. His campaign attracted so much attention that it resulted in a documentary titled "It Ain't Easy Being Green." Be forewarned: Lots of Greens agree with that title, but they knew it would be hard. Minor-party politics always are.